Brain Controller in Review – the view from on top

Brain Controller is a clever demo for Motion Portrait‘s photo-to-animation technology, a sometimes funny, sometimes scary application which morphs digital animation from still photos. The iPhone version is a port of Motion Portrait’s PC application, and while extremely simple, exhibits the company’s expertise in enslaving humanity to their alien overlords… and animation. Brain Controller came to me at a strange time too: in Dune’s prequel, House Corrino, the skin of my neck has been crawling at the constant mention of biological tampering. This app ain’t going that far, but after a good dose of coffee, I can see the tainted future, and it isn’t great!

Motion Portrait’s app has managed to remote control itself into TMA thanks to a few good videos which you can see here.

Brain Controller is primarily a tech demo, and at times, a barrel of laughs. From the splash screen to the sometimes interminably long loading screens, it is a simple vehicle which introduces the user to Motion Portrait, the company. Literally, a meagre handful of screens will run you through the entire app: home, saved videos, choose face, and information. You will bother most about whose face to choose, and after a few try and fail attempts, saved videos.


If premises were incentive enough to buy an app, then Brain Controller would sell bundles. With an internet connection and a single photo, your boss’, your girlfriend’s, or yo mama’s head can be sawed off and replaced by mini-you, s/he’, or it. You add text — which should be kept riotous –, click go, and are off. From there, you can save your creation, or share it to YouTube, and later, erase it by navigating home and then to saved photos. There isn’t an easier app to navigate, but I think most of that has to do with Motion Portrait’s decision to include just the kitchen sink into the app. There should be at least another demo included into Brain Controller for a killer night of debauchery induced by alcohol and aliens.


For 2.99$, it might float your boat, but Brain Controller is skimpy. In fact, while connecting to internet, it accesses Motion Portrait’s servers, proving that it is just a front end demo with a nice YouTube uploading feature. The web-app can be found here. But, what I don’t get is my ambivalence toward Brain Controller. It isn’t worth 2.99$, but it is a damn fun way to ruin the faces of those whose tiffs you have tapped; actually, it is just a great way to let a couple of minutes loose.

Evidently, my mate, the bear from 國稀 (Kunimare sake brewery) has no face. While I don’t think itwas any conscious decision of MP to exclude bears, the omission might have repercussions: bearded barbarians will be in uproar over the software company’s prejudice. Indeed, when an app which can implant little alien controllers into the heads of humans debuts at the app store, ‘lesser’ life-forms on this planet of ours are bound to want a little overlord of their own.

There is plenty to enjoy in Brain Controller, but it comes at a rather high cost. Firstly, priced at 2.99$, the app chafes at its most sensitive connection to humanity: the wallet. Secondly, there isn’t much to do inside the blatant advert. But, it is a riot: a dark riot which is as funny as it is foreboding – I fully expect to wake in a few hundred years to a glass bubble atop me head and my brain kicked about by some munchkin.

Brain Controller is a unique romp, but won’t get more than a TAP from TMA till Motion Portrait can find a new, lower bottom line.


App Summary
Title: Brain Controller (v 1.0) Developer: Motion Portrait
Price: $2.99 App Size: 1.8 Mb
  • Plant an alien into any human head
  • Simple, quick, effective
  • Good for laughs
  • 2.99$ is a lot to ask for a web front-end
  • What, no support for bears?
  • How bout a few more demos?


There are loads more photography apps at the App Store. Below are a few which TMA featured:
QuadCamera in ActionAutoStitch in ReviewColorDraw in ReviewGizmoshop’s camera attachments for the iPhone

Next ArticleReal Soccer 2010 - new boots for a new year