Wearable book? You’ve got to be kidding me

MIT - Sensory FictionA couple months ago, I stumbled upon this article about something MIT students were working on called “sensory fiction.”

Essentially, it is a “wearable book” that using lighting, temperature changes, and even a heart rate-altering chest strap to “enhance” the reading experience. Now, in case you have a heart of ice when Anna Karenina throws herself under that train, a machine can force you to be human! Isn’t that great?!


At the risk of sounding like a crotchety old-timer who still prefers paperbacks to e-books (but has accepted the convenience of the latter), COME ON.

Aside from it being a complete insult to writers, didn’t we learn anything from the failure of 3D television sets? Do we REALLY need pulsating lights, a “body compression system,” and a “shiver simulator” in order to empathize with others–real or fiction?

If we do … if we can’t feel characters’ emotions without the help of technology … then pack your bags, society, because we’re doomed.

Click here to read the article in The Guardian and watch a video of “sensory fiction” in action.

And please tell me: What do you think?



Filed under Industry News, Misc

4 responses to “Wearable book? You’ve got to be kidding me

  1. Um… what? Why would anyone want that or even think it’s a good idea? As long as the author has written their story well enough for me to emphasize with, I don’t need something strapped to my body to tell me how to feel. This is not like the debate of physical books versus e-books and “embracing” advances in technology or trying to make books more accessible. Rather, this is about an over-reliance on technology and electronics in this day and age when we think everything needs to be enhanced in some way and how we experience the world through our own senses and imaginations is not good enough.

    Plus, who would want to have to deal with wearing that contraption in order to read a book? It cannot possibly be comfortable. Not to mention possible hazards of overheating, etc.

    Mostly, though, I agree with what Adam Roberts said in the article, about this technology being “infantalising, like reverting to those sorts of books we buy for toddlers that have buttons in them to generate relevant sound-effects” and I hope other people realize this before it goes any further.

  2. Mateo

    Woah, where was the Anna Karenina spoiler alert!

  3. Reblogged this on Readerly Musings and commented:
    I commented on this post, but wanted to share with you about this new invention in case you haven’t heard about it, and perhaps hear your thoughts on it. Thank you, Skipping Midnight, for bringing this to my attention!

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