Sensory Fiction Books Heat Up, Vibrate While You Read
We're going to have to start sex ed a lot sooner now.
Enjoy reading, but incapable of forming opinions of your own? No problem! Scientists at MIT are developing “Sensory Fiction” books that give you biofeedback in the form of vibrations and temperature variations.
Scientists say “Sensory Fiction” will increase immersion in the story and hopefully slow the exodus from printed books to e-readers, but I’m just glad that pesky imagination part has finally been taken out of it!
Check out this slightly creepy video, showing how Sensory Fiction works on their ‘prototype’ book, James Tiptree’s dystopian novel The Girl Who Was Plugged In.
Wow, I’m so happy that someone finally figured out what was missing from this whole reading thing!
The Media Lab explains,
The ‘augmented’ book portrays the scenery and sets the mood, and the wearable allows the reader to experience the protagonist’s physiological emotions. The book cover animates to reflect the book’s changing atmosphere, while certain passages trigger vibration patterns.
Changes in the protagonist’s emotional or physical state triggers discrete feedback in the wearable, whether by changing the heartbeat rate, creating constriction through air pressure bags, or causing localized temperature fluctuations.
Personally, I think MIT scientists should stick to impressively crunching numbers, and leave story time alone. Something which sits in your lap and vibrates and/or heats up already exists, and there’s a reason I don’t use it when I’m reading Beloved or Fast Food Nation.
Although obviously, there are certain genres which would benefit from the Sensory Fiction treatment. Gizmodo commenter Buttnothing (heh, I like the way this guy thinks) suggests that a Fifty Shades of Grey prototype would have been more impressive, and I’m inclined to agree.
Impressive, but way less suited to elicit subway reading.