Out of their minds: Nottingham research used in thrilling ride that adapts to riders' brain activity

Thrill seekers brave enough to test drive a new mixed-reality ride will only have themselves to blame if they find it a little too wild for their taste. 

For the new attraction uses research from The University of Nottingham to adapt the experience to the rider’s own brain activity. The new ride — Neurosis — has been developed by technology-inspired performance artist Professor Brendan Walker, a principal research fellow in the University’s School of Computer Science, dubbed the ‘world’s only Thrill Engineer’.

It draws on research being conducted by Professor Walker and academics at the University’s Horizon Digital Economy Research institute which is developing novel ways of using biosensors to capture and present data from the human body. Neurosis will receive its world premiere at the FutureFest festival taking place in London this weekend. 

Professor Walker said: “The fairground has a long tradition of being a place that the public can literally ride new and emerging technology in the pursuit of pleasure and excitement. Neurosis is a ride that will appeal to anyone fascinated by the recent explosion in body monitoring technologies and services on offer, the personalised entertainment experiences they might be able to help create, or simply those looking for new types of thrilling experience.”

Neurosis features a six-degree-of-freedom motion simulator and virtual reality headset to immerse the rider in a surreal environment controlled not by a ride operator but by the rider’s own brain activity. This activity generates an audio-visual virtual world where pathways emerge, tumbling, twisting and twirling the rider through a psychedelic landscape. The rider’s real-time neurological responses to music, motion and visible wonders activate fairground lighting.

The neuro-data constantly transforms the futuristic ride artwork while music pumps and the simulator mechanism undulates and sways.