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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Penny for your thoughts » » High Tech Mental Magic (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Kjellstrom
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TIPS:

http://www.magic-and-techno.com/

This web has many interesting mental effects. The only bad thing, very expensive.
David de Leon
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Thank you Kjellstrom for bringing the site to my/our attention!

I think there are great possibilities of using technology to create magic and mentalism, but to my mind none of the effects presented on the site really did it for me. Some are fine (I wouldn’t mind owning the electronic notepad), and some are beautiful (take a look at the box of heads!), but the methods remind me of the explanations that laymen come up with in order to explain effects they can’t understand: ”Oh, you must have had microchips in all the cards and a detector in the box...”). There is nothing wrong with technological solutions per se, but most of the effects on offer can be achieved otherwise and cheaper.

The whole thing brings to mind Penn and Teller’s Most Expensive Card Trick (that may not be the proper name of it). The difference being, of course, that P&T make a GREAT DEAL out of the fact that they seem to be using masses of technology for what is a very basic trick (and what a lovely routine it is!).

I’m sure there are more innovative things that could be done using technology. For instance, I’ve been wondering for ages whether there are any mentalists that use PSYCHOPHYSIOLOGY as part of their method?

(If you don’t know what psychophysiology is, it is the measurement of various bodily reactions -- such as, eye blinks, pupil dilation, skin conductivity, heart rate, breathing etc. -- and their relationship to psychological states -- e.g. sweating when nervous. We all know that there are methods that employ psychophysiology reactions to an extent, but is there anyone using technology to pick up, interpret, and display these signals?]

The idea of picking up psychophysiological signals might be crazy, impractical, unreliable, expensive, dangerous, unethical and bulky, but think of the potential !!!
Kjellstrom
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Your idea about psychophysiological signals sounds very interesting. It feels like a "higher" level of thinking. You need to be very sensative to analyze this kind of signals. You are very perspicuous in this subject, where can I find more information on psychophysiological?
David de Leon
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I’m glad the idea of using psychophysiological measures for mentalism got you interested! I don’t know very much about it yet, but suspect that it will find its way into mentalism eventually (if it hasn’t already). There is much to mine here and I already have some half baked ideas! However, I know next to nothing at this time, having only read a few chapters in ”The Handbook of Psychophysiology” [edited by Cacioppo, Tassinary & Berntson. A second edition published by Cambridge University Press in 2000]. This is the only source that I can give at the moment. It’s a great book, but academic, and I don’t think you could do much after having read it (expensive too!). To get anywhere I think you would actually have to get together with someone who is ALREADY an expert and then start experimenting.

Having said that some friends bought a cheap lie detector (just measuring skin conductivity) and had some fun with me on my stag night [the thing was bough at a ”Kjell & company” in Sweden]. I will write a longer post on this subject at another time so we might get more response then.
Darmoe
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Some very interesting thoughts

In that I'm a bit of a pack rat and love gimmicks the High Tech side of things has always appealed to me. However, I also believe that "less is more" and have found that the old ways are frequently better.

I know of a gent that socked some $20k into a certain system sold by a noted US dealer... the shows looked great... until there was a major power outage and he couldn't get the "vibes" for connecting with his audience and proving the psychic reputation he'd achieved via high tech scanners, EM systems, etc.

The physiological side of psychological thought is something I've played with for years (since learning some things about doing Sponge Balls in fact... proper placement in the hand, etc.)I'm amiss as to the name... the gent the put out all the Encyclopedias for technical working in magic through Hades... his treatment of psychology in performance I feel is a must read along with most everything of Kneppers and Banachek.

You've gotten my brain to working guys... that's dangerous!
"I firmly believe that of all the Arts and Crafts of Mentalism, there is nothing more satisfying than one who is a first-class Reader. It is the ultimate in Mentalism..." - Tony Corinda * 13 Steps To Mentalism
Ray Haddad
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Quote:
On 2002-06-17 12:05, Darmoe wrote:
Some very interesting thoughts

In that I'm a bit of a pack rat and love gimmicks the High Tech side of things has always appealed to me. However, I also believe that "less is more" and have found that the old ways are frequently better.

I know of a gent that socked some $20k into a certain system sold by a noted US dealer... the shows looked great... until there was a major power outage and he couldn't get the "vibes" for connecting with his audience and proving the psychic reputation he'd achieved via high tech scanners, EM systems, etc.


So, this guy did everything by candle light without a battery backup? Shame on him, all right!

Quote:
The physiological side of psychological thought is something I've played with for years (since learning some things about doing Sponge Balls in fact... proper placement in the hand, etc.)I'm amiss as to the name... the gent the put out all the Encyclopedias for technical working in magic through Hades... his treatment of psychology in performance I feel is a must read along with most everything of Kneppers and Banachek.

You've gotten my brain to working guys... that's dangerous!


Psychological sensing using physiological reference indicators is fabulous if you can get away with it. It is a learned skill. Read the Bandler and Grinder book Frogs Into Princes for the first and possibly most "observer oriented" treatise on NLP being used in the sense of reading your audience instead of directing them. The original theory of NLP was as a tool for determining the truth or falseness of statements given by criminals. This book was a breakthrough in that area.

Later books by the same authors actually dealt with using those techniques in magic. No kidding!

To find used copies of these out of print books, go to the Advanced Book Exchange search engine at:
http://dogbert.abebooks.com/abe/IList
and enter the authors' names into the field or the specific title if you know it.

Best Always,
Ray
mclare
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There's something about relying on your own actions/dexterity/ability which is comforting. I'd be terrified using an electronic gimmick which, if it suddenly failed, would leave me no second chance at the effect (well, I guess I'd have to find an out). I don't imagine I'd ever be comfortable knowing I was relying on electronics.
shrink
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Ive used electronic devices mixed in with more traditional methods to get incredible effects. However They were expensive very unreliable and awkward to use. Not only that unless you are an electronic wizard you'll be frustrated when they keep going wrong and need some work done to them.

But I have to say the effects were really good and very convincing.

I still have the device but it isn't working. However I'd rather find a more reliable way to build a new one than get this one fixed. Of course the downside is you may be asked to replicate your talents when you don't have it on you!

I think there is a place for electronics but only if the "effect" is worthwhile.
Lee Marelli
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Remember Murphy's Law. It is particularly true with electronics.

You are paid to succeed. I have seen mentalists fail to succeed because the electronics failed during the routine. I do not want to seem old fashioned, but there are so many outstanding mentalism routines that do not need any electronics to succeed, why chance it.

If you are a collector and have the money, go for it. Look at the prices Averdi's products get today. If you are a performer, put your money into your promotional material and great books and multipurpose gimmicks, e.g., I keep losing my boon writers and having to replace them, and a boon writer to a mentalist is worth a hundred electronic chips. Smile

As to reading eye movements, etc., etc.. These "techniques" are not really as practicle or reliable as the authors and lecturers on the subject would have you believe.

This has become a very lucritive market for "proponents" of these systems. They just lecture to captive audiences of business people (whose companies pay the lecture fees), most of whom will never try to apply anything covered. They do not have to stand in front of a paying theater audience and produce with audience assistants(s). This postion I have take may not be a popular position with some of our fellow members, but it is how I (and others) see it.
"Mentalism is a state of mind." Marelli
mclare
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Mm, I agree with you completely
christopher carter
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Quote:
On 2002-07-04 00:14, Lee Marelli wrote:

As to reading eye movements, etc., etc.. These "techniques" are not really as practicle or reliable as the authors and lecturers on the subject would have you believe.


You are absolutely right, but I do want to add that there are techniques to enhancing the reliability of these non-verbal cues in the context of a show, and they can contribute greatly to the success of certain types of tricks. For example, I rely heavily on observing eye motions when pumping for cards and other 'either-or' information, and it has greatly increased the number of 'hits' I get. So just because the techniques are not perfect is no reason not to put them into practice.

--Christopher Carter
Lee Marelli
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You have a point, Christopher. Certainly, one can use them during a performance. Like psychological forces, if they work fine and you have a miracle. If not, you have your outs ready so you can proceed with a slightly lesser miracle. You readily recogized that what I was saying is do not depend on them.
"Mentalism is a state of mind." Marelli
David de Leon
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I apologise for the following post, which is long, crazy and a bit technical. Have patience with me.

Although electronics are expensive and often unreliable (and most effects employing them can be duplicated through other means) a question one might pose (given the topic of this thread) is whether there are any unique and strong effects made possible by electronics that could not be achieved by other means?

Now I was not overly impressed by the offerings available from Delaure, but what if we allow ourselves to look into the future, to speculate and to dream?

In my earlier post I suggested that electronics could be used to pick up bodily signals (such as skin conductivity, heart rate and breathing) for use by the mentalist. Some pointed out that these kinds of signals are hard to interpret. This is very true. One place, then, for technology might be to process and interpret such data. Fact is, most interesting psychophysiological measures are composite, subtle and impossible to interpret WITHOUT computers. So this is one possible role for technology.

[ If you are at all intrigued by this idea/prospect you might like to visit MIT and look at the work of Picard and her group on affective computing: http://affect.media.mit.edu/AC_affect.html ]

The idea, in other words, would be to pick up bodily signals from a subject using sensors, have a computer interpret them, and then put the information to devious use. Imagine the following scenario (not necessarily a good routine, or PC, but one which illustrates the idea):

A number of men are invited up on to the stage and offered chairs to sit on. A variety of women are paraded in front of them for inspection. The men have to decide who they find most attractive and the mentalist is able to divine each of the men’s choices.

How would it work? There are several conceivable ways. Using a remote eye-tracker we could measure how much time a particular man spends looking at a particular woman (compared to how much he looks at the other women); and also which parts of her he peruses most. (There is of course the slight problem of setting up the eye-tracker. Today’s remote systems require that you first locate the subjects eyes for the system and calibrate the equipment. I don’t see why the computer shouldn’t be able to do this for you in the future.) Skin conductivity picked up from the hands resting on the arm rests of the gimmicked chair might also indicate arousal, as would a heat sensitive camera aimed at his face.

[For the use of high-definition thermal imaging cameras to detect lying see: http://www.trnmag.com/Stories/2002/01230......302.html OR do a quick internet search on ”heat sensing face lying camera” ]

The application of psychophysiological sensing for lie detection is obvious, or for gauging a subjects reactions during cold reading.

What else might we do: Here is a lovely story that might suggest some crazy applications:

There is a great experiment (I think described by Dennett in his book Consciousness Explained) in which a subject was hooked up to apparatus that picked up signals from the motor areas of the brain (i.e. those parts of the brain that generate actions) and relayed them to a slide projector. The subject was told to press the button of the slide projector at will to advance the projector to the next slide. However, the projector was driven, not by the button, but by activity picked up in the relevant motor area of the subjects brain. The subject was not told this last fact. Now what happened was that every time the subject was about to decide to press the button, the slide projector changed slides. Apparently the build-up of the intention to press the button was picked up from the brain BEFORE the subject was conscious of having decided to press the button! Incredible! That fact that there is brain activity before conscious volition, has occupied philosophers ever since. I will not go into this aspect of the experiment and only point out that the EXPERIENCE of the event, reported by the subject, was of the slide projector moving just before the subject had decided to press the button!

Now that is an EERIE effect that I wouldn’t mind duplicating in a performance setting!!!

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that any of this would be good mentalism (or magic), I’m not even sure that ANY of it would work, I’m just speculating in the presence of fine company. We also have to take into account our audiences knowledge of these things. If the heat sensing camera becomes commonplace in airports for security control, then its use for mentalism is severly diminished.
shrink
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Quote:
On 2002-07-11 05:28, David de Leon wrote:
I apologise for the following post, which is long, crazy and a bit technical. Have patience with me.

Although electronics are expensive and often unreliable (and most effects employing them can be duplicated through other means) a question one might pose (given the topic of this thread) is whether there are any unique and strong effects made possible by electronics that could not be achieved by other means?



One of the effects I used to do was to have someone behind me with a set of jumbo cards. I couldn't see them. I could also be blind folded or have one of the members of the audience place there hands over my eyes. The person at the back of the room shuffled and held up the cards one by one. I told them the colour of each card. Then I instructed them to look at the cards face up go through them and stop at one ou feel attracted to. Then held it up I told the colour suit then value. I had small envelpoe which I had in my lap before I revealed cazrd. Inside it said they would staop at that very same card.

Another effect was to beat someone at naughts and crosses even all though you couldn't see the board. You justt old them where to out your mark.

I don't know if they could be duplicated by other means effects did go down well. However the old add a number knockout with the gimmicked pad went down just as well!
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