April 10, 1996 8:00 PM PDT

The mind reels, along with the movies

A Hollywood studio and a small software company have put their heads together--literally--to come up with the perfect solution for moviegoers who insist on happy endings, regardless of what the director had in mind.

Miramax Films has licensed software from The Other 90% Technologies that the companies say will let you control movies and games on your PC with the power of your mind alone. Honest.

According to its Sausalito, California-based developer, the technology works more like a mood ring than mental telepathy. It's a sensor sleeve that fits onto any finger and reads physical fluctuations such as changes in body temperature, humidity, and heart rate, then interprets them to figure out what you're thinking when playing Doom or watching Casablanca for the 20th time.

The Other 90% Technologies is readying the system, called MindDrive, for release this summer. Miramax Films, which has produced such eclectic releases as Pulp Fiction and The Piano, today expanded its creative vision to license MindDrive for use in future movies and other entertainment projects.

Miramax says MindDrive will let users essentially produce their own films by making up their own endings. "You'll be able to watch a movie and decide which door to go through and whether or not you want the character to survive or die," said Dave Karraker, spokesman for The Other 90%.

No word yet on whether Bergman and Bogart will ever have more than Paris. But while you wait to find out, you can play some games with names like MindBowling and MindSkier.

"You can ski fast or slow, go right or left around a tree, or stop," Karraker said. He added that he tried to hit a tree on purpose to test the system and, sure enough, he hit it.

The technology itself will be available this summer for $150. Pricing has not been set for MindDrive games, but Karraker said it will be comparable to PC games now on the market.

According to company literature, MindDrive's technology was originally developed in Siberia by former U.S. government scientists working on mind-control projects. Washington abandoned the effort after the Soviet Union dissolved, but it was rediscovered by Ron Gordon, president of The Other 90% and former head of Atari.

"Einstein says you only use 10 percent of your brain, and Gordon's view is to use this technology to put the other 90 percent to use," Karraker said. Hence the company's name.

Miramax hasn't yet decided how or when moviegoers can get their hands on this celluloid dream come true, but when the company determines what types of films it wants to make it will play them on the studio's Web site. They'll most likely start out five to six minutes long but will eventually go to full-feature length, Miramax says.

The company is also thinking about how to eventually bring MindDrive to movie theaters.

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