Imagine that you are an experienced movie director. The writing team gave you an amazing script. You were able to cast the perfect set of actors and special effects gurus. The filming went exceptionally well and you are even happy with the editing and music. The studio’s marketing team is doing a great job and you hear that presales of the related merchandise is at record levels.

Your job is done -- or is it?

The movie opens in two days and your team is still testing the interactive component of the film. Using personal sensors worn by audience members, your movie adjusts on the fly based on the audience’s emotional response in real time. Not scared enough? Add a bass beat in that particular showing to match a faster heart rate and some subsonics to make the skin crawl. If heart rates and other stress indicators show the audience is too scared to follow the plot... bring down the bass and make other subtle changes.

This is not science fiction, but rather how I think the application of biomedical sensors to entertainment (and entertainment is just the tip of the iceberg) could go given the players already in the field.

Gawain at SXSW

Irish innovators from Shimmer Research are developing a variety of wearable wireless sensors. Shimmer has worked with filmmaker and new media consultant Gawain Morrison of Filmtrip as Morrison’s team develops, “Sensum,” an emotional response system that can easily be worn by audience members. Filmtrip makes movies more engaging and has gained acclaim for their work at South by Southwest and other new media festivals.

This level of engagement with our own reactions, our customers, clients, and colleagues is available today. You may already be involved in some level of engagement through sharing your workouts, blogging your interests, or tweeting about your work. Filmtrip gets to the leading edge by creating a film, a work, that is better due to the engagement with its actual audience at the moment, not just with what they thought the audience would be like during production.

We all need and can have this level of engagement in our work.

We may not all have biomedical sensors to show how we are connecting with our work, but we all need to think about how else we can get 20/20 insight into:

  • Our own work
  • The work of our teams
  • Our organizations
  • The organizations we cross paths with

And then, how to use that insight such that our work, no matter our industry, is improved.

This is 2020 Engagement

Greater transparency, greater responsibility given the trust offered along with the transparency, and a supporting need for continued professional development. Do you have an example to share?

For more on the Shimmer technology see Kieran Daly's (VP Business Development) recent post on using the technology during the Allianz Business to Arts Awards -- tracking his biomedical responses as Shimmer won!

To follow Gawain Morrison, Filmtrip, and Sensum, please visit their blogs at or