How a New High-Tech Vest Can Make Readers Feel Like They’re in a Book

The latest attempt to make science fiction a reality.

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Ever read a book so detailed that you felt like you were in the story? Now there’s a vest for that.

For a class at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Mass., students designed a book cover with 150 LED lights that get darker and brighter based on the scene on the page. An accompanying black “wearable” that resembles a harness is supposed to convey tension and the protagonist’s mood in the story through a body temperature control function, vibrations, heartbeat and shiver simulator and air pressure bags that open and constrict.

Felix Heibeck, Alexis Hope, and Julie Legault said that they developed this technology at the MIT Media Lab to explore “new ways of experiencing and creating stories.”

The project used a science fiction novella aptly called The Girl Who Was Plugged In by James Tiptree, Jr. because the main character exhibits a broad range of emotions. But as one commenter pointed out on the class’s website, “Market this with 50 Shades of Grey and you’re onto a winner.”

(h/t The Telegraph)