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Brief Published: 13 Feb 2014

Apelab: Spatial Storytelling

New Swiss start-up Apelab has launched a storytelling prototype at the Lift tech conference in Geneva which allows viewers to actively control their spatial experience of a film, video or animation on a mobile device.

IDNA is an animated story the team has developed to explore this ingenious prototype, which requires users to wear wireless headphones and hold a mobile device such as an iPad up to see where the story is happening. Each scene is a 360-degree experience, so users can simply shift the device to focus on different visual and audio points as and when they want. Carefully orchestrated to develop based on where the viewer is looking, no two experiences of the story are the same.

It will be a while until we can interact with almost invisible interfaces like the ones conceptualised in Spike Jonze’s Oscar-nominated sci-fi film Her (see our blog post), but start-ups are increasingly focusing on the fluidity of future technology. As the company’s lead physical computing designer María Beltrán told Stylus: “Our main goal is to give people technology with simple interfaces, to make it simple and accessible.”

New storytelling tools like this could prove game changing with an always on, mobile audience in both the entertainment and advertising fields. British rock band Radiohead used similar tech in a musical game app PolyFauna, which adjusts the perspective of its glitchy landscape based on how viewers tilt and angle their smartphones. 

See how sensory devices develop storytelling in Sensory Fiction, and read about Japanese brand Sony’s efforts to gamify advertising. Also read up on digitally augmented interfaces in Digital Reality, and look out for our full coverage of the Lift 2014 conference, coming soon.