Everything we do gives us a different experience. Watching movies, reading books, going to the theatre, playing slots online: all these and similar experiences are part of our lives and can become even more memorable thanks to technology. That’s exactly what multi-sensory viewing aims for. It enables us to use multiple sensors for every experience we have, making each one unique and unforgettable. So, what is this technology, and how exactly does it work? In this article, we will answer these questions.
What is Multi-Sensory Viewing?
We all have five senses: smell, taste, hearing, sight and touch. Think of each of these as a sensor: we use at least one of them in all our experiences. For example, when watching a movie, our sight and hearing sensors come into play. We use smell and taste sensors while eating. The quality of our experience is shaped by how accurately and effectively these sensors work.
Research shows that the more sensors are used at the same time, the more impressive and memorable the experience becomes. Let’s go back to the movie example: if we could use the smell and touch sensors as well as sight and hearing, that movie would be much more impressive. This is exactly what Multi-Sensory Viewing aims at and enables us to live every experience of our daily life using extra sensors.
Technology Finally Reached the Desired Level
So far, we’ve seen how multi-sensory viewing works with simple examples like 4D Cinema, but technology has now advanced enough to usher in a new era. We can really take the multi-sensory viewing experience to another level with technological tools that we could not even imagine in the past. To give some practical examples:
- Did you know there is such a thing as an interactive lollipop? This product, called LOLLio, has sweet and sour flavours. You attach the lollipop to its own spherical base, which wirelessly communicates with your computer and starts tracking your progress in the games you play. If you complete a level successfully, the lollipop becomes sweet. But if you fail, it turns sour. In other words, the taste sensor can also be included in computer games.
- A company called eScent is developing fragrance dispensers that can be placed on fabrics and jewellery. These dispensers can emit different scents by tracking the mood of the user. You can smell different at work, different at home and different at dinner, and you don’t have to constantly apply perfume to do this. eScent dispensers allow you to smell good and benefit from the smell sensor all day long.
- If you want to dine at the restaurant called “Ultraviolet” in Shanghai, you need to make a reservation months in advance. The restaurant has only one room and a capacity of 10 seats. Eating here costs around 1,000 CAD. This is because you are having an experience at the same time as you are eating. Ultraviolet allows you to use hearing and sight sensors as well as smell and taste sensors. The walls of the dining room are covered with OLED screens that display HD images. During the meal, different scents spread throughout the room, and the table is constantly illuminated with colours. A speaker system allows you to hear different sounds throughout the meal.
- An alarm clock called the Sensorwake allows you to wake up with the scent of your choice in the morning. The fragrance cartridges that can be attached to the top of the watch are quite diverse: you can wake up with the smell of fresh coffee or the smell of toast. The company’s portfolio even has interesting options such as the “smell of dollar bills”.
- How about a museum where you can touch everything you see? The Met Museum’s multi-sensory section enables you to do just that. You can touch and interact with all the art pieces here. Moreover, this includes not only your touch, but also your other sensors. For example, when you touch a piece of art, a special smell may come out, or music may begin to play. There are even scratch-and-sniff paintings in the museum.
It would be wrong to view multi-sensory viewing as just a technology: it should be seen as a kind of art. Of course, technology is key to enabling us to use all our sensors, but it takes creativity to determine what an immersive experience it will be. Sometimes, using sensors that you thought would not be compatible with each other at the same time (for example, touch and smell) can result in an extremely striking experience. As people continue to be creative and technology evolves, multi-sensory viewing will become a much more immersive experience. In this regard, it is possible to include even metaverse universes in this category: future virtual worlds may also benefit from multi-sensory viewing.