Tuesday, 24 Mar, 2009 Technology

Latest Invention: Feel Movies With the Help of a Special Philips Jacket


The latest invention from researchers working at Philips Electronics is a jacket that includes vibration motors and can enable movie viewers to actually feel the movie through a sense of touch. The jacket was developed with the goal of studying the effects of touch on the emotional reaction of the viewer to what the movie characters are feeling.

A senior scientist from Philips Electronics, Paul Lemmens, notes that the jacket was not created to make viewers experience the actual punches and other effects that movie characters receive.

The idea is to make viewers experience the anxiety along with other emotions via specific signals. One of such signals is sending a shiver up the spine of the person viewing a film. Among other signals there are: the creation of tension in the viewer's limb and a pulse on the chest that engages a rapid heartbeat.

According to Lemmens, people often cannot imagine how sensitive humans are to touch, despite the fact that touch is the first sense that fetuses develop inside mother's womb. It is worth mentioning that the scientist will present the company's latest invention at the 2009 World Haptics Conference, which will be help in Salt Lake City. The event will be sponsored by the IEEE.

In order to make viewers experience emotional sensations, the jacket features 64 independently controlled actuators. These are allocated across the arms and torso. There are 16 groups of four actuators that are connected along a serial bus. Each of the sixteen groups has a microprocessor. Due to the fact that the actuators draw little current, the haptics jacket can work for up to an hours on two AA batteries, informs the website of the IEEE Spectrum magazine.

If a viewer watches a fight scene, the jacket can generate a pulsing on the chest in order to reproduce the heartbeat of the kung fu master. The speed of on and off cycling of the actuators is 100 per second.

To note that it is not for the first time that Philips develops a gadget that can enhance sensation. Last year the company's latest invention was a technology that made it possible for content providers of games, movies, music and websites to create immersive experiences that one can feel in the real world by engaging specially developed amBX devices, such as lighting-effects devices and wind machines that jointly can reproduce the feeling of a gentle breeze or a bomb blast.

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