Augmented Reality Books? New ‘Wearable Book’ Feeds You Its Characters' Emotions As You Read [VIDEO]

By Ajit Jha on January 28, 2014 10:25 AM EST

Wearable book developed by MIT
MIT's prototype wearable book immerses readers in the world of the story's characters. (Photo: MIT Media Lab)

E-books are going to look quaint in the future, when we have wearable books that make us feel everything that's going on in our favorite fictions. In fact, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Media Lab have already created a wearable book under the project Sensory Fiction.

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As you read the wearable book, an array of devices will take you into the inner world of characters, making you feel as they feel. Covered in sensors and actuators, the 'book' is actually a strappy, vest-like object hooked to you while you read. The gadget-book adds to the pleasure or pain of reading by creating physical sensations that mimics the characters' emotions as the plot unfolds.

The augmented emotion while reading the book is externally generated by the use of LED lights, air pressure bags, vibrations and heating among the others. A hundred LED lights for instance will blink if the protagonist is depressed to reflect the mood. There are air pressure bags in the vest that will constrict and make the reader feel tighter, if the protagonist is depressed. Excitement will be accompanied by vibration patterns to make your heart race faster. Similarly, a heating device on the vest can change your skin temperature to augment the sense of embarrassment felt while reading the book.

MIT's prototype story is called The Girl Who Was Plugged In, and was written by Jamjes Triptree. In it, "the main protagonist experiences both deep love and ultimate despair, the freedom of Barcelona sunshine and the captivity of a dark damp cellar," according to the project's website.

SENSORY FICTION from Felix on Vimeo.

MIT isn't the first to try to push reading into the world of immersive media. Publishing innovators have been toying up with the idea of augmented reality books for the past several years. In fact there are already some augmented reality books available such as "WonderbookTM: Book of Spells" and the "Princess and her Pals 3-D" Popar app. In addition, hybrid interactive books are also available on the market. However, a wearable book will take the notion of augmented reality a notch higher.

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