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Come to Life

'Wearable' book lets you experience characters' emotions while reading

The book and wearable vest uses sensors and can trigger feedback based on the protagonist’s emotional or physical state.

WHEN YOU THINK of wearable technology, watches, glasses and clothes would come to mind, but researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has applied this technology to reading.

The project, called Sensory Fiction, allows readers to experience the protagonist’s emotions through a wearable vest.

The vest uses a combination of sensors to convey a character’s emotions through vibrations and other indicators.

Depending on what part of the book you’re reading, any changes in the protagonist’s emotional or physical state triggers feedback either through changing the heart rate, creating constriction through air pressure bags or by changing the temperature.

The prototype book used was a science fiction novella called The Girl Who Was Plugged In by James Tiptree Jr., which won the Hugo Award for best Novella in 1974.

The researchers chose this story as the basis because “the deep love and ultimate despair” the main protagonist experiences throughout the story.

The project was one of many created in the Science Fiction to Science Fabrication class.

(Video: Felix/Vimeo)

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