Creating Empathy: New Project Out of MIT Allows Readers to Feel What They See
Many of us have dove into a book and had the experience of feeling what the character you’re reading is going through. The trademark of a good writer is being able to engulf the reader with so much detail and such an interesting storyline that they don’t want to put the book down. Sensory fiction has taken that experience to a brand new, digital, and technologically advanced level. MIT researchers Felix Heibeck, Alexis Hope, and Julie Legaul have successfully created and designed the first ‘sensory fiction’ book and body apparatus.
With their invention, the reader of a book can not only empathize mentally, but also physically feel and experience what the characters in the book are feeling. Sensory fiction accomplishes this with a series of LED lights that change colour according to the mood described, a compression system that allows the reader to feel tension, and a heating device that changes the temperature of the skin. With the ability to physically impose emotions and feelings on the readers, this MIT project opens an even wider creative door for authors, who were in the past limited to printed words. As the user and reader, cuddling up with a new book will now make the imaginary feel more like reality.
- Lee Jones