Think wrongly, if you please, but in all cases think for yourself. – Doris Lessing

Go forth into the unknown, explore the caves of your unconscious, fear not your “dark side,” find the gold.

— Robin Hoffman (@AuthorAlchemy)

Friday, April 17, 2009

Would You Wear This Jacket to the Movies?

EMOTIONAL IMMERSION. Do we need this artificially heightened for us when we go to the movies? Shouldn’t the movie itself be enough?

Researchers have developed a jacket lined with vibration motors—64 actuators that rest against the wearer’s arms and torso—designed to induce relevant sensations and emotions while watching a movie.

Product developers want the jacket to connect the wearer more fully to the character, such as feeling his or her survival anxiety. For instance, the jacket can cause a shiver to run up your spine or other sensations related to a fight scene.

The goal is to study “the effects of touch on a movie viewer’s emotional response to what the characters are experiencing.”

I can imagine this jacket becoming popular and, with more research and refinements, becoming ever more sophisticated. One comment on an article at IEEE Spectrum cited a “scent collar” developed for the army that could also be used for more sensory realism.

Being the sensitive type (I feel too much already), I would not wear this jacket in the hope of spiking my adrenalin response to action scenes.

(I realize I’m in the minority here ;~)

However, if the jacket could induce greater levels of the emotions I do want more of—inspiration, love, gratitude, romance, creativity—then count me in!


See the jacket and read more details


MILLI THORNTON is the author of Fear of Writing: for writers & closet writers. She blogs about writing and creativity at


Sunflower Ranch said...

Milli!!! I have to say I think the jacket is too Orwellian for me! LOL I am a viewer to the entertainment, not a participant!! If what I see can't move me -- by golly they are in the WRONG business. The jacket is a very silly idea. Thank you for bringing it to light, though. Why don't these obviously people figure out how to solve homelessness and hunger in the world? Wouldn't that create more of an impact than rigging up someone to measure the depth of their feelings??? End of today's rant before I say too much!! LOL Thanks again for posting this!

The Ink Gypsy said...

Hell no! If the movie can't pull me in by itself what do they think a jacket will do? Music is already over-used in movies as a 'you-should-be-feeling-this-now' wop upside the head. I don't need my skin to be accosted as well. What if I think it's entertaining and want to laugh all the way through when the movie makers intended me to be scared? A poking prodding jacket would kill even that entertainment for me.

Also consider this: When babies look away from you or what's going on they do it to stop themselves overloading - to momentarily halt the sensory input so they don't have a meltdown. And this is for both good and bad experiences. Trying to stop bad feelings seems obvious but have you ever felt so happy you were almost burst out of your skin? Babies feel that - a lot. When they've had a little downtime - be it moments or minutes - and they're no longer feeling overwhelmed they turn back, ready for more. Wise parents let their babies do this when they need to rather than forcing them to participate and interact.

Stories have the ability to touch us as deeply as real-life experiences, the difference being that we can choose to self-censor. If it's too much we can put it down, walk away. That not only applies to being scared or disturbed but also to when you want to savor the delicious experience. In a movie theater we don't have the option to stop and savor and/or recover as it is. Don't get me wrong. I think movies are wonderful but thank god for DVDs and the opportunity to bring them home and experience the stories we love at any speed we want to.

The only place I can see really see such technology being 'embraced' is in the porn industry. But until it becomes cheaply and widely available via anonymity it'll be slow to catch on.

If only we could figure out a way to make executives, bosses and politicians to feel what the underlings do. Then it might actually be useful.

Sandra Moore Williams said...

Where do you find these tidbits of information!!!??? I've never heard of this incredibly stupid jacket, and I'm appalled that anyone would think you need such a crutch to enjoy a movie. Must be for the emotionally handicapped who have shorted out their responses via too much stimulation and have gone input-dead. Either that or they are stimulation addicts who need an ever increasing dosage to feel anything.
Ahhh, the power of ideas to bring out a rant!

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Thanks for commenting on my blog! ~ Milli