Genius headgear

Fans rated Spock’s Brain the second worst of the original Star Trek episodes. The story involves the unlikely removal and theft of Mr Spock’s highly logical brain for use as central controller for the complex systems and services of a planet run by women. While waiting for the brain’s return Dr McCoy manages to install an apparatus on Spock’s head that provides motor control of his unconscious, unthinking, brainless body.

Head only, black and white, pointy ears, wearing head apparatusI know this because Lovefilm currently features all 79 original Star Trek episodes, for browsing, sampling and savouring.

To conjure up feelings of the deadly serious, the grotesque, the shocking, and the ridiculous, it’s difficult to beat scenarios in which things happen to the head: making it spin, bend back, detach, distort, open, transform, and of course requiring it to wear attachments and enhancements of various kinds: hats, glasses, headphones, braces, makeup, wigs, facial hair, prosthetics, especially if they are out of the ordinary — like wearing a top hat or fascinator to a football match. Digital headgear comes into this category.

We’ve conducted some experiments in which people wear an Emotiv Epoc EEG cap to record neurological data while they are in particular outdoor environments. This is tricky as others notice when you put something unusual on your head, and there’s the risk that participants wearing the devices feel self conscious. Emotiv are working hard to turn their headgear into something inconspicuous, or at least stylish.

Some students are also working on an art installation featuring a person wearing an EEG cap, about which more later. In the mean time here’s how to make your own intelligent headgear.

Sheet with cut and fold instructions (for real)

Click for printable version. Cut out and fold to make you own mortar board.


  • Star Trek image from Wikimedia Commons: Scene from the Star Trek episode “Spock’s Brain”. Leonard Nimoy (Spock). In this scene, Kirk commands Spock to grab Kara’s wrist and deactivate her bracelet; she’s the one who stole Spock’s brain. This makes Kara powerless. The episode aired on NBC September 20, 1968. Author: Paramount Television. This is a file from the Wikimedia Commons.
  • Lanterns in the form of the Terracotta Warriors on display in the Old College quadrangle, The University of Edinburgh:

black and white picture, just the heads

Black and white picture of girls wearing cardboard mortarboards

The University of Sydney News, 4 April 1989, p.48


About Richard Coyne

The cultural, social and spatial implications of computers and pervasive digital media spark my interest ... enjoy architecture, writing, designing, philosophy, coding and media mashups.


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