Mind Chair by Peter Marigold and Beta Tank


London designers Peter Marigold and Beta Tank have created a chair that uses sensory substitution technology to transmit moving imagery to the sitter's brain.

The model of the Mind Chair is a standard polypropylene chair fitted with an electronic device that turns pixelated video imagery into physical sensations that are "read" by the sitter's skin and transmitted to the brain.

The chair will be on display at the forthcoming Design and the Elastic Mind exhibition at MoMA in New York.

The information below is from Peter Marigold:


Mind Chair - a collaborative interactive furniture design with Beta Tank

The Mind Chair describes a possible application of the sensory substitution technique developed by Dr Paul Bach-y-Rita in the late 1960s in which moving imagery is perceived in the mind via nerves in the skin rather than the eyes.

The aperture in an existing polypropylene chair is fitted with an electronic unit that relays video imagery as dynamic pixelated physical information onto the back of the sitter. The effect is for the viewer to visualise moving image in their mind.

The electronic unit sits as a retrofitted parasite within an existing and very familiar design describing how a technology that is both simple yet astonishing in its effect, could be incorporated into something as ubiquitous as a piece of institutional furniture. The familiarity of the assemblage leads to a guessing game as to how the device might be used in a simple alternative teaching environment.

Update 07/02/08: the text in this story has been updated at the request of the designers

Posted on Tuesday February 5th 2008 at 10:45 am by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • kur0yi

    so i get some taktile informations by buttons pushed onto my back.

    dont over due it, it’s not direclty affacting anyones brain….

  • phone


  • Orient

    one for me ! after all we are in the 21st C

  • Dear Peter and Beta Tank – would you mind giving me a call – or drop me a line?


    Glenn Johnson

    Director Design Studio, B/E Aerospace Inc.

  • sorry number is…

    +1 336 391 9240 (cell)

  • Musty

    You’re nuts Peter, I can’t wait to “see” it in NY.

  • Arch

    soooooo Innovative!!!!

  • Juan González

    One question though: can one truly read the images just by passively sitting in the chair and receiving the stimuli?
    Could you elaborate?

    Thank you!

  • sam braithwait

    I wonder if this could be used to help with depression through visualazation of pleasant images (much like music can change a mood) or used to reach autistic children. Very neat idea, ugle chair though. Ah, but then, beauty is in the eye of the beholder…

  • I hope somebody starts selling these things.

  • Could you please show how this chair delivers “high-definition”????

    Previous reports on Bach-y-Rita’s research were low resolution . . . capable of discerning basic shapes like diamonds, spades, clubs and hearts in b/w directly on the taste buds of the tongue.

    Even the raster photographed on the back of this chair would seem to indicate low resolution. We would be pleased to hear that high-def chairs were in the pipeline, but are inclined to question this claim.

    Bob Kiger
    Videography Lab
    Oceanside, CA

  • Linda Feferman

    For more on Paul Bach-y-Rita’s sensory substitution work go to http://www.pbs.org/wiredscience/video

    In the search box type: Mixed Feelings

  • Dear Bob Kiger,

    Apologies for the misunderstanding, we have revised the text which you can view here: http://www.beta-tank.com/#mindchair

    Many Thanks

    Beta Tank Team

  • wow – just had a look at your website Beta-tank, fascinating work, what clever folk you are! very innovative and i love the way you question percieved boundaries. The digital remains concept is brilliant..

    I look forward to seeing the work over here

  • arkram

    damn coool thing…does it work for blind people as well? it might jus turn over the visually handicap world right?

  • F

    Professor Freud would have loved this.
    however one can’ t help thinking of another type of chair …

    chill in the spine .

  • José A. Brouzzó Duncan

    congratulations peter and Beta tank.
    is so innovative on road the 21st C. ONE FOR ME , pleaseeee
    Un Abrazo, Felicidaaaades

  • stoeffer

    put a curly wig on it
    call it the Cher chair

  • simon

    i keep thinking of natalie wood and a movie called “brainstorm”…

    uh-oh….now i’m thinking of porn.

  • William

    could this be used for advertisements in public locations? people sit on the chair and it transmits a picture of a burger to their mind, and they want a burger. etc.