Sensory Reality at Dutch Design Week

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01.11.2017, by Frederique de Roos


If you have been following us on Facebook, you might have seen that The Creative Lab visited this year’s Dutch Design Week (DDW) in Eindhoven. It is the biggest design event in Northern Europe and attracts thousands of curious visitors that are interested in the newest tech and design innovations. Strijp S (the part in Eindhoven where most of the exhibitions are held) is filled with stalls and exhibitions where you can snoop around and try things out. The old Philips factories are decked out with experiments and are made accessible to the public. While The Creative Lab thinks advanced technical children’s clothing and projects about sand grains are intriguing, that is not the only reason why we are interested in DDW.

We of course went to check out what interesting digital media products have been created. This year, there were many engaging applications and original concepts to choose from. The Enversed VR exhibition was our favourite pick this year.  Architecture, gaming, education, healthcare, training and simulations all came together in cool interactive VR experiences. Especially the Sensory Reality experience provided by Sensiks caught our eye, in which audiovisual experiences are synchronised with scent, temperature, air flow, tremble, taste and light frequencies. The pod, which reminds us of a steam cabinet, controls your sensory experience and is said to help decrease stress and high heart rates. They have created multiple experiences that can make you forget, even just for a while, that you’re in the middle of a city in the middle of Fall. To create a fully immersive digital environment researchers call on six tools to fool us into thinking a simulation is real; panoramic 3D displays (visual), surround sound acoustics (auditory), haptics and force feedback (tactile), smell replication (olfactory) and taste replication (gustation). These have all been taken into account in this project which makes for a very realistic immersion. The thing is, we still know it’s fake.

But what’s next? How can we fool our brains into thinking a computer-controlled reality is real? The next step would be interaction with the nervous system. Machines would have to be hooked on our nerves, to collect info, make the program react accordingly and send digital feedback back to the body. This may sound like science fiction, but there are multiple research institutions trying to break this code, such as Blue Brain Project.

All in all, digital media is making leaps and bounds, which makes us excited about the next great advancements (as long as we can prevent a Terminator-like situation from happening in the near future).




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