"Feel" the Movies With Philips' Tactile Jacket
That's that question that researchers from Philips Electronics are asking, and they're trying to get their answers using a special jacket they created that contains 64 embedded vibration motors. Each motor can be independently controlled, and the actuators are divided into 16 different arrays, with each four-motor array controlled by a dedicated processor. All the actuators are linked to each other on a serial bus and they are distributed through the jacket's arms and torso.
|Photo credit: Steve Brewster|
via IEEE Spectrum
Lemmens has a Ph.D. in cognitive science and is "experienced in experimental psychological research focusing on human information processing that is related to resolving conflicting information in a perceivers environment and the role of emotion in information processing." Lemmens is giving a presentation on research Philips has done with the jacket at the World Haptics conference this week in Salt Lake City, Utah. IEEE Spectrum reports that Philips has previously engaged in similar devices meant to increase viewers' sensations, such as "lighting-effects devices and wind machines that together can simulate the sensation of a gentle breeze or a bomb blast."
If the mind wanders long enough (and for some of us, it doesn't take that long at all), the idea of placing actuators into items of clothing that cause viewers to feel sensations leads to an obvious question. Interestingly, it is a question that Lemmens has already given some thought to:
"Asked if he and his colleagues have any plans to make a matching set of pants, Lemmens says no, but that the possible applications of this technology are limitless and that the emotion-inducing actuators could go anywhere."