What could be better than a chocolate-covered ice cream bar on a hot summer day? Of course, the answer is a chocolate-covered ice cream bar eaten inside a high-tech, bio-interactive experiential sphere. The Magnum Infinity Pleasure Pod is exactly that ... and the ice cream is free.
Displayed in July at the Westfield Stratford City shopping center in Stratford, London, the Magnum Infinity Pleasure Pod is part of a promotion by the Magnum Ice Cream company for their Magnum Infinity bars.
The Pleasure Pod is a collaborative effort between the London-based Jotta design group and the firm Bompas and Parr. The latter is run by “food architects” Sam Bompas and Harry Parr, who have made a reputation for themselves by creating art installations of everything from a replica of the Millenium Bridge made out of jelly to a chocolate climbing wall. The Magnum Infinity Pleasure Pod is a bit of a departure for both firms, since this is the first time that ice cream has been merged with cybernetics and neuroscience.
The technology behind the pod is the result of six months' research by neuroscientists from the Wellcome Trust and digital animator Matt Pearson. The pod is a large, black sphere fitted with biosensors that detect – among other things – heartbeat, swallowing, facial expression and skin tension. A visitor is given a free ice cream bar, which they eat inside the pod. There, the sensors collect readings and feed them into the digital software. This turns the data into a bespoke “Pleasure Portrait” of what the visitor is experiencing, which is projected on the inside of the pod.
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