As we isolate ourselves further to reduce the chance of contagion, we begin eschewing the physical for the mental, sacrificing face-to-face contact for virtual meetings, replacing physical action with mental imagination. Instead of physical exercise, we play games that employ mental exercise, contrary to our previous evolutionary aims of having physical effects on the world.
Telewave Games 2028 is a speculative imagining of a world that replaced spectator sports athletes with mental athletes who compete using the prowess of their EEG brainwaves in a data-saturated world constrained by physical distancing.
In this world, Wavenet IDs and its associated data is the social currency found from websites to social media. People have their own Wavenet signature read from their own neuroscience data that can be used in everything from identification to a sign of beauty. Unlike LeBron James and Serena Williams, the athletes of this world perform amazing feats with their brain waves, which are valued higher than ever due to the world’s reliance on pervasive data analytics and need for social isolation for safety outcomes. Telewave athletes compete in three genres of events:
Events with 5 competitors where the more EEG events a player generates, the quicker she get to the finish line. In Balloon Popping, the greater the athlete’s attention signal, the faster air is pumped into her balloon; the first to pop her balloon wins.
Events that assess how well competitors control their EEG states despite difficult external circumstances. In Acrobatic Meditation, players maintain EEG relaxation states despite increasingly difficult physical poses.
Sports where the aesthetics of the EEG wave generated is assessed using quantifiable criteria, much like figure skating. In Rotary Control, competitors try to generate more and more complex gamma oscillations while rotating on a platform.
The Balloon Popping event is implemented here using the Mind Wave Mobile platform streaming data using bluetooth to the Brain Wave OSC app. EEG data is sent to Unity via OSC using this custom code. Unity controls a pair of air pumps corresponding to each EEG headset via serial communication with Arduino code. The amplitudes of attention signal for each competitor over one second windows are scaled to 75-250 for the L298HW95 vacuum pumps, each connected to a balloon on a custom built wooden platform. The pumping speeds can be modulated for a marathon vs sprint type event. The timelapses shown correspond to a ~40 minute event analogous to a 5K run.
Telewave Olympics 202.8 was exhibited at the Parsons School of Design Prism Show.