Advanced Interactive Media/Multisensory Media Is About To Explode
At the 2006 Boston SIGGRAPH symposium (http://www.siggraph.org/s2006/main.php?f=boston), it was possible to experience paintings that responded to touch, movies that could be tasted and nasal canons that triggered precise aromas at the instant they were required to enhance a video clip. Participants sat in a virtual kayaks and paddled through a virtual version of the west coast of Alaska while feeling the pressure of salt water on a paddle.
Research proves that smell is, by far, the most effective physical sense for triggering vivid memories, so why couldn't nasal cannons be used to help students use smell to recall important information during an exam?
And why don’t more media experiences take advantage of all human senses, rather than just sight and sound?
In the world of theme parks, 4D entertainment is becoming more and more popular. For example Disney's California Adventure offers Soarin' Over California which is an experience where you literally feel like you're flying over California. The ride triggers wind, water, and even the scent of oranges as you fly over orange fields.
In Las Vegas, at the Luxor, there is a virtual reality ride which is 4D. Not only do things come at you from the screen, but also from the floor, chair, and even from above.
The world is so close to reality that I believe we should be afraid of what is next. In my mind, I believe the next or future of multisensory media is to be able to affect our emotions by somehow connecting us with the characters in the story. We would feel what the character is feeling, If he is angry, our emotions will imitate that, if he was scared, we would be able to feel the depth of the fear. This would make a lot of movies better than just viewing because we will be placed in the character shoes, making us one with character and can understand why he did things in the movie. The Dark Knight, the recent Batman movie, created a dark and cynical atmosphere once Joker enters the scene. The sound is gripping, making you pay attention to the seriousness of what is being shown on screen. Joker's voice had the psycho-deranged touch to it, that many knew he wasn't playing around or just want money-he wanted to destroy Gotham. You can tell by his voice, He didn't have any sympathy, no care in the world, he didn't care about dying, He wanted to see Gotham burn, destroyed. All this was made just from sound. Sound affects the body in an amazing way and if movie producers, game designers, commercials even, find a way to control their onlookers, then effectiveness is boosted from a normal commercial to something memorable. Sound move us in such a way, where we can find sleep music that puts our body at ease, or music that can have our adrenaline pumping at the thump of rock. This is just a hair of what I believe is to come.
In Orlando Florida, at the amusement park Sea World; the ride Wild Arctic, gives adventure seekers a ride like none other. People are placed in what look like a space ship that has a big screen in front of everybody on the inside. The screen comes on and it appears that you are looking out the main window of an aircraft. The air craft takes off and all the seats turn right and left, and lift forward and back to give the feeling of flying. This feeling is increased do to the intense visual experience a person gets fro the screen in front of them. As the aircraft moves around the screen begins to show pictures of Polar Bears and at one point it gets to close and the bears attack the aircraft. The pilot of the aircraft looses control of the ship and it crashes. The door on the other side of the ride (directly across for the one you entered) opens and allows you to walk off the aircraft. As you walk off it becomes obvious that this is not the end of the ride. You are in a real life setting of the Arctic. As you follow the crowed, You are viewing real, living Polar Bears and penguins in artificial settings that mimic their natural habitat. By adding this to the end of the ride Sea World really took Interactive, Multisensory Media to the next level. You were not just seeing the world through a screen and feeling the effects of the aircraft through the seats, but you were feeling the cold of the Arctic as you got off the aircraft and walked into the artificial setting. This gives you the most real feeling of being there without actually being there. I think more things like this are expected. Rides and media that will actually be able to fuel a persons mind into believing they are really there.