Taking movies to the next level with PhantomSense®

PhantomSense® enhances the drama and realism of the cinematic experience by adding in the most important missing sensory element- our sense of touch. As technology developers, we asked the question "If what we were seeing in a movie was truly real and we were actually present in that moment- wouldn’t our subconscious expect a physical component to that experience?" PhantomSense® creates a physical experience that corresponds to what you see and helps bridge that reality gap. It introduces an active virtual reality element that transforms an otherwise passive form of entertainment into a new hybrid expereince that never previously existed. Filling in those small missing details that let you feel the action pushes the boundary of realism to the next level.

Realism adds believability- making it easier for the audience to get into the story. Take a movie’s visual elements. They have evolved from black & white to color, include realistic graphics and special effects, and now feature 3-dimensionality and continuous wide angle fields of view. Audio has evolved into realistic sound quality and the separation of various elements to create a sense of space and directionality. Although we rely heavily on sight and sound, all realistic experiences are actually composed of input from all 5 senses at once. That means for our brains to be truly convinced that an artificial scenario is real, the lack of input from our other senses- touch, taste, and smell, holds us back.

Phantom Sense® creates its sense of touch using a novel air-based system. It’s the only technology of its kind that actively creates a wide range of meaningful tactile effects encompassing impact, pressure, light touch, and vibration. The world of touch for artificial scenarios can now be more life-like and complete, including the ability to portray a true physical sense of direction. As important action unfolds, the viewer gets the feeling for what they see happening as it occurs. Here are just a few examples of what can be experienced using PhantomSense®:

  • Watching a character get shot and fall, you would feel the impact of the shot itself (and its location) and the resultant contact as the character strikes the ground. In fast paced action scenarios, you may actually feel it before you can see it!

  • Driving in a vehicle, as the occupants experience the effects of gravity under hard turns, acceleration or breaking, PhantomSense® allows the audience to experience those sensations as they are watching along.

  • Walking, running, jumping, or climbing- as the key character does these, you would experience the footfalls, jolts, and hard landing effects transmitted to the chest, back, or lower abdomen as if you were performing those activities yourself.

  • Novel effects created to enhance fantasy action.

  • And of course, the typical rumbling, ground vibration, and surround effects can also be felt.

One of the most interesting challenges we have found with introducing a complex sense of touch into a movie is deciding what exactly should be felt. Often, the action is fast paced with rapid changes in point of view. Early in our product development, we tried to put a feeling to everything that was seen. The end result was sensory overload - even for us, the ones who invented these types of effects! We learned that the best approach was to focus on the experiences of the primary character.

Movies also use a 3rd person point of view. You passively watch as a bystander and aren’t expected to be a direct participant. By enabling your sense of touch, our technology now makes you “the wingman”- not just along for the ride, but to be part of it. If the tactile experience is focused on the actions of a particular character, then you now have the ability to feel what they should feel. Even though you don’t see directly through the character’s eyes, you still get the physical experience of the action happening to you. There may also be important scenes where the main character isn’t present, but the action is so cool or important, that we just couldn’t let it go. In these instances, you would feel the consequences of the primary action, enhancing the overall intensity and drama of that particular scene. No other technology transforms a movie into a first person experience like Phantom Sense. So when you decide to sit back, relax, and escape, let PhantomSense take you to the threshold of reality.