Magazine article ASEE Prism

Touchy Feely TV

Magazine article ASEE Prism

Touchy Feely TV

Article excerpt

As television becomes a more interactive medium, it may become active in other ways, as well. Indeed, couch potatoes may soon actually get to feel what they're watching. Researchers at the MIT Media Lab Europe in Dublin are convinced that "touch TV," a convergence of video-gaming and television, is the wave of the future. The lab's Palpable Machines Croup leader, Sile O'Modhrain, says that adding touch to television's ocular and auditory sensations "creates a greater sense of immersion. . . it makes [TV] more engaging." In one experiment, a small, low-power sensor was inserted into a soccer ball. The sensor transmitted a radio signal to a computer that controlled an actuator embedded in a sofa. Each time the ball was kicked, the viewer felt a thump in the rump. "It provided a different point of view" of the game, O'Modhrain says. Next, her group created an animated children's cartoon featuring a tiny bug. …

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