Firsts in the recording of other sensory experiences


The first apparently successful steps in the recording and playback of smells were announced in mid-2006, by a team from the Tokyo Institute of Technology led by Takamichi Nakamoto. In development from 1999, the technique involves 15 chemical-sensing electronic noses that can pick up a wide range of smells, the information being stored digitally. These in turn are reproduced from an ingredient list of 96 chemicals held in glass vials in the machine. The device had, by that date, successfully recorded and reproduced the smells of orange, lemon, apple, banana and melon. See Nakamoto Laboratory, Fildes, and Nakamoto 2005.



Multimodal media

The Sensorama was one of the earliest exemplars of immersive, multi-sensory (now known as multimodal) technology. Morton Heilig (1926–1997) detailed his vision of multi-sensory theatre in his 1955 paper entitled 'The Cinema of the Future'. In 1962 he built a prototype of his vision, dubbed the Sensorama, along with five short films to be displayed in it. The Sensorama was a mechanical device, which still functions today. It displayed stereoscopic images in a wide-angle view, with body tilting and stereo sound, as well as having tracks for wind and aromas to be triggered during the film. Heilig was unable to obtain financial backing for his visions and patents, and the Sensorama work was halted. [Wikipedia]

As there is no evidence that the body tilting, wind and aroma effects were anything more than simulated, it has to be regarded as a 3D colour stereo sound movie, with supplemental simulated VR effects.

The most extreme contemporary example of this approach has to be that of the Indian-based Modern 5D, whose theatres are equipped to supplement audio-visual output with: leg tickler, butt poker, back poker, neck blast, air blast, water jet, seat vibration, seat sub-woofer, and bubbles, wind, snow, smoke/fog, rain, aroma, flash, and thunderstorm effects.



Full references for printed works


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This page was last revised on 2013-08-13.