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