AMC Theaters announced their plans this morning to install electronic helmets into the seats of every one of their theaters by the end of 2016. The purpose of these helmets is to emit a small electric shock to movie watchers whenever they think about checking their cell phones.
Each helmet contains a series of diodes that measure brainwave activity. The helmet is then hooked up to a small computer on the back of the seat and interprets these brainwaves as thoughts, then makes the decision to zap the moviegoer if those thoughts drift to things like friends and family.
AMC has been testing these helmets since the beginning of January and is working hard to “get rid of the kinks” before 2016, according to AMC spokeswoman Susan Gredenko.
“The purpose, ultimately, is to ensure that our customers are getting the full experience of the films they see,” Gredenko added. “Cell phones are a distraction to themselves and others, and we feel that this is the best way to get rid of that distraction.”
So far the helmets have been malfunctioning at an unacceptable rate. Test subjects have reportedly found it difficult to use their cell phones weeks after using the helmets, so the effects of the helmets appear to be long term. Additionally, the helmets provide a health risk to subjects with cardiac issues, however AMC looks at that positively.
“Another goal with this is to get old people out of our theaters,” said Gredenko. “Old people are our number one demographic, and that holds true for every other major movie theater. By putting old, feeble people at risk, we limit their attendance and hopefully bring a younger, thrill-seeking crowd.”
Other movie theaters have begun to draft similar projects, such as United Artist’s “Needle Machine” which injects viewers with adrenaline every 20 minutes, and Regal’s microwave chair arms that fry cell phones almost instantly.
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By Jacob S. Wydra: @jswydra
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