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Short film 'Many Worlds' changes based on the audience's brainwaves and heart rate

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It's not unusual for a film to have multiple cuts or endings before release, the final version determined by the response of test audiences. But Many Worlds, a short film that will debut next month at the Peninsula Arts Contemporary Music Festival in Plymouth, UK, could end in four different ways — it all depends on how tense the audience is feeling. Alexis Kirke, the writer and director, loosely based Many Worlds on the Schrödinger's cat thought experiment and its many-worlds interpretation, which holds that each observed outcome creates different versions of reality. At the start of the film, a handful of audience members will be fitted with sensors that detect their heart rate, brainwave activity, perspiration, or muscle tension. As it progresses, the story will periodically branch based on how they respond, leading to one of the four endings.

The roughly 15-minute film follows the thought experiment in plot as well. "Connie, a physics student, has sealed herself in a coffin-sized box with a cyanide gas-capsule connected to a Geiger counter... Charlie — also a physics student — realises Connie is performing a twisted version of a famous quantum physics experiment about the nature of reality, but one that was never meant to be performed in real life."

So long as you can get on board with a found-footage thriller about a high-school science chestnut, the conceit is fairly interesting: if an audience gets bored during a slow section, the next segment will speed up; if they're "too happy," the next section might be meant to depress them. Even outside the fairly novel take on an interactive film, that means any given viewer's experience will be dictated by the people around them. Many Worlds will debut on February 23rd — we're not sure what Kirke's future plans are, but like William Castle's Tingler or Emergo, don't expect to get the full experience online any time soon.