Reading may soon be experienced in a whole new way with a “wearable book” that creates physical sensations based on the written word.
The project, called “Sensory Fiction,” comes out of the MIT Media Lab. The reader wears a vest-like contraption that uses effects such as ambient lighting, vibration, temperature and compression to produce physical sensations that represent setting and emotion described in a story.
The pre-programmed responses are set to go off via sensors and actuators (a type of motor) once the reader is on the right page. If a character is love the suit might vibrate to increase the reader’s heart rate and if a character is cold it might lower the reader’s skin temperature, for example.
The equipment includes a body compression system, a heartbeat and shiver simulator and a localized body temperature control—all of which are responsible for the physical effects. There are 150 LEDs positioned onto the book’s cover that light up based on the plot.
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“Sensory Fiction” is the result of a graduate-level class, Science Fiction to Science Fabrication. Only one story, James Tiptree’s “The Girl Who Was Plugged In,” has so far been programmed using the new gadgetry.
“This is not a product idea, but rather an exploration in the context of science fiction stories,” Felix Heibeck, a member of the team responsible for “Sensory Fiction,” “It is an artifact meant to provoke discussions.”
MIT isn’t the only one experimenting with interactive reading. Tony DiTerlizzi’s fantasy novel The Spiderwick Chronicles uses symbols in the printed book that link to 3D representations online.Disney is also delving into digital imagery—the corporation is experimenting with books that interact with tangible objects the reader controls.
There are many more such new wearable technology coming up in the market. You can check out more such gadgets in the gadgets category under wearable section (sub category)
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