Remember when you were a kid, and mood rings were the coolest thing ever? How did it always know when I was feeling “lovable” or “unsettled?” How come nobody wears those anymore? Kids these days are so hard to please. Luckily, a group of Oakland artists are building a sort of 21st century mood ring in the form of an interactive sculpture that they are hoping will blow students minds. Headed by Don Cain, the team is creating a 15-foot-tall steel brain hooked it up to an EEG headset. When it is finished, kids and adults will be able to step right up and illuminate the sculpture with their brain activity, as LED “neurons” change hue in correspondence to their mood. Slightly more accurate than 25-cent jewelry, I imagine.
The sculpture is entitled “Mens Amplio,” which translates to “expanding mind” in Latin. It will be a massive, outlined brain formed out of sinuous steel pipes encased in a head-shaped cage that is half-buried in the ground. The EEG headset will measure levels of brain activity, showing how attentive or meditative the participant is. This activity will then translate into a spectrum of color that lights up an LED “neuron tree” inside of the brain. There will also be an element of combustion involved, but Cain doesn’t want to give that away just yet.