Watch, Listen, and Feel Movies with a Haptics Jacket

Sometimes you may feel a shiver go up your spine as you’re watching a chilling movie scene, but a new jacket can actually give you a real shiver. The haptics jacket, designed by scientists at Philips Electronics, can enable movie viewers to feel movies through a sense of touch, in an attempt to provide full emotional immersion in a film.

Paul Lemmens, a Philips senior scientist, explains that the jacket isn’t meant to make viewers feel the actual punches and blows that the actors are receiving on the screen. Rather, the intentions are more subtle. The jacket’s purpose is to make viewers feel anxiety and other emotions through signals such as sending a shiver up the viewer’s spine, creating tension in the limbs, and creating a pulse on the chest to simulate a rapid heartbeat.

"People don’t realize how sensitive we are to touch, although it is the first sense that fetuses develop in the womb," said Lemmens, who will be presenting recent research on the jacket at the IEEE-sponsored 2009 World Haptics Conference 2009, in Salt Lake City.

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