The world’s first mind-reading holiday planner

Adventure travel company Explore challenged us at Bright Signals to come up with an interesting new way for customers to browse their wide range of guided adventure trips. They have over 500 different itineraries ranging from cycling trips in Thailand to safari adventures in Africa and cultural excursions in Venice.

The guys at FrankPR did a great job of providing context, with their research showing that people spend almost as much time planning their holidays as they do actually away on holiday. And a large percentage of them find the process really stressful.

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We thought it would be fun to take all the stress out of holiday planning and help customers find their ideal holiday without even having to think about it. Instead, we’d read their minds.

We do a lot of ambitious stuff at Bright Signals, but when the client said yes to our top-line idea it became clear that this would be our biggest challenge to date.

IMG_0363I started researching electroencephalography to see just what it would take to accurately read emotional signals from members of the public. I researched various different headsets and algorithms before I hit on a solution that I had confidence in.

With this research behind us, we worked with our in-house video editor to create a two-minute holiday ‘mood film’. For maximum authenticity, this was compiled entirely from amateur footage shot by tour leaders and members of the public on Explore trips.

Once the edit was complete, the footage was logged, categorised and mapped to bespoke software that I wrote so that we could track the brain’s emotional responses in real-time, shot-by-shot and theme-by-theme.

We then set about creating an immersive experience that we could take on tour, comprising a backdrop, multiple screens, and a sound-isolating egg-shaped chair that participants sit in to watch our video.

IMG_0374Earlier this week we took the kit to Edinburgh, Manchester and Reading where the experience was enjoyed by hundreds of members of the public and dozens of bloggers, press and broadcasters.

The buzz around it was incredible, with queues of people waiting to take part, and coverage in the Daily Mail, The Scotsman, Edinburgh Evening News, Manchester Evening News, and lots of high-profile blogs. It also made the national radio news bulletins throughout the day on Heart, Smooth FM and Capital FM.

Here’s an example of the radio coverage:

And some selected press coverage:

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