Nam explained that the machine could read feeling and emotion, things that "distinguish us from humans ... er, computers!" An assistant, Marco, entered stage right sporting Emotiv's neuro-headset, a mess of tentacled sensors wrapped around his temple, as Nam introduced Marco's virtual counterpart, Emobot. A robot head with a cute, round face began to mimic Marco's facial expressions on a large screen behind Nam. "Look cute, look cute," goaded Nam, and Marco and the Emobot responded, blinking their eyes and pursing their lips. Emobot followed along for a few more moments before freezing up -- and it was onto the next demonstration.
Nam pressed Marco to "think of something, and make it happen" by manipulating a three-dimensional cube now occupying the center screen. A simple 'zoom' command seemingly worked, but when told to mind-push the cube along multiple axes, Marco failed. "Weak mind, weak mind," teased Nam, warding off the inevitable tension. He filled the pause with pseudo-science, something about electrical impulses converted into an image of thought within a roughly 90,000-dimensional space. (90,000 dimensions? Had we heard that right?) Marco was still squeezing his eyes shut, carefully molding thoughts with his hands. Still nothing ... and then ... the cube spun briefly to life.
"You feeling okay to do the risky one?" Nam asked. (No, it was not a question.)