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Brief Published: 27 Jan 2014

Sensory Fiction

Sensory Fiction

Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US have created a book that uses networked sensors, lights and a wearable device to convey the story’s mood.

Sensory Fiction is an “augmented book” that reflects changes in the protagonist’s emotional or physical well-being through a wearable device on the reader’s torso. The device can vibrate, change temperature and apply force with air pressure bags to create a sense of constriction.

The book’s cover is embedded with 150 programmable light-emitting diodes (LEDs), which create ambient light according to the story’s atmosphere. This biofeedback is designed to engage the reader.

Felix Heibeck, Alexis Hope and Julie Legault, the scientists behind the project, aim to offer an “immersive reading experience”. They believe the experience of reading a frightening passage, for example, would be amplified by being able to ‘feel’ the character’s racing heartbeat.

For more on how to tell stories for a multi-device generation, see our Digital Storytelling report.