Emoti-Chair Lets You Hear Through Your Skin

Carmen Branje, at the Inclusive Media and Design Centre at Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada, is working on letting you hear through your skin.


(A closer look at the voice coils on the Emoti-Chair)

Back at the lab, Branje plays me another tune. This one is slow and starts very low along my back. It clearly feels sad. The tunes were composed on Branje’s keyboard, which doesn’t look much like a normal keyboard. It is large and shaped like a semicircle so that composers can always feel the pulse against their back. The keys themselves are divided up into five sections, each of which map to different sets of voice coils in the Emoti-Chair, and each section has eight keys ranging from 40 to 421 hertz. So if Branje taps the 40-hertz key at the left-most section of the keyboard, a person sitting in the chair would feel a low-pitched buzz along their lower back. If Branje hits the same 40-hertz key on the far right of the keyboard, that same buzz would play along the shoulder blades.

Once he had created a prototype for the keyboard, Branje set out to see how he could convey the emotion typically found in music through touch. Some aspects of music, Branje says, transfer perfectly from ear to skin, such as rhythm and tempo, though he suspected other elements would prove more challenging. For instance, in Western music, major keys connote happiness, while minor keys connote sadness. But what would the equivalent of songs written in major and minor keys feel like? It’s a black box, Branje says. “There is no such thing as a vibrotactile song.”

To begin sorting it out, Branje asked professional music composers to write happy or sad vibrotactile songs. Someone who had spent years conveying emotion via sound might intuitively understand how to convey those same feelings through touch, he reasoned.

His early results are promising. When Branje played those compositions to volunteers and had them report what emotion they thought the songs conveyed, they often reached the same conclusion. Branje then broke down each composition by musical elements, such as tempo, amplitude, frequency, length of individual notes, and how often a piece jumped along tracks (or speakers along the back). He found that tempo, or the number of notes per second, and frequency had the greatest significance. “If you use a higher frequency and a higher tempo people are going to think your songs are happier,” he says.

Aldous Huxley, as usual, has the matter well in hand. In his 1932 masterpiece Brave New World, he describes the feelies:

"Going to the Feelies this evening, Henry?" enquired the Assistant Predestinator. "I hear the new one at the Alhambra is first-rate. There's a love scene on a bearskin rug; they say it's marvelous. Every hair of the bear reproduced. The most amazing tactual effects..."

"Take hold of these knobs on the arms of your chair," whispered Lenina. "Otherwise, you won't get any of the feely effects."
(Read more about Aldous Huxley's feelies)

Via PBS.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 2/7/2015)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Entertainment ")

Actors Reject, Makers Embrace, Posthumous Movie Resurrection
'Suddenly firmed and we saw ''Adam Selene.'' - Robert Heinlein, 1966.

Will Future Games Require Hallucinogens ala Phil Dick?
'The final packaged product Can-D, made life bearable for over one million unwilling expatriates from Terra...' - Philip K. Dick, 1965.

Emoti-Chair Lets You Hear Through Your Skin
'Take hold of these knobs on the arms of your chair...'- Aldous Huxley, 1932.

It's Boonta Eve! You Can Podrace With Drones
Pretty amazing event from France.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Keith Laumer's Bolo Autonomous Tanks Right On Schedule
'I cannot lie idle under attack.'

When Computers Develop Their Own Language, Will They Talk To Us?
'The curious absent look of a robot talking on the TBR circuits - the Talk Between Robots radio...'

LipNet Reads Lips - Until Disconnected, That Is
'We'd have to cut his higher brain functions... I'm not sure what [HAL} would think about that.'

Eterni.me - To Skype With The Dead
'Nothing... left of Jeserac but a galaxy of electrons frozen in the heart of a crystal.'

Wearable MRI Is Former Occulus/Facebook Exec's New Project
'Your cephalochromoscope... that you always turn on and play when you get home...'

Ford Stratasys Infinte Build 3D Printer
'He proudly indicated his Buick... Almost as good as the original it was printed from...'

The Space Suit As Personal Spaceship
'Darn clever, these suits...'

Dune Fans! Your God Emperor Is Ready
'If one held a sandtrout in the hand, smoothing it over your skin, it formed a living glove.'

Robot Strolls Field, Examines EVERY Plant
'The great machines that did the work ... required but a few dozen men to cultivate an entire county.'

Sweden Outlaws Drones
'An eye that could not only see, but fly, roam, travel at speeds and in directions to suit its operator...'

Wear Your Self-Powered Generator
'It's basically a micro-sandwich...'

TITAN-III Spider Robot Is WAY Too Quick (Video)
'My little friends can find you wherever you go!'

Bill Gates Suggests Tax On Robots
'A worker replaced by a nubot that 'appears or pretends to be human' had to be compensated...'

Handle, New Wheeled Hopping Robot
'the hopper sprang thirty feet into the air...'

Matrix Sentinel Ancestor, The Pipe Inspector Robot From Krakow
Watch out, Keanu!

Auto-Focus Smart Glasses Have Liquid Lenses
'Hufhuf oil held in static tension by an enclosing force field within a viewing tube...'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.