What the Tech? A new experience at the movies - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

What the Tech? A new experience at the movies

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So you think seeing a movie in 3D is impressive. Or maybe the IMAX experience brings you close to the action on the screen. Hold that thought, the next big thing for Hollywood is virtual reality.

At NAB in Las Vegas this week Intel and Positron showed off their combined efforts of a movie theater where the viewer watches from within a rotating and moving pod.

The pods look like half of an egg. The viewer sits in them with their feet off the ground. As the movie plays the pod rotates in 360 degrees, pitches forward and side to side as the action unfolds. Virtual reality headsets are worn for the visual and headphones provide a virtual reality audio experience. There's also haptic feedback so viewers feel vibrations in the seat and, get this, there's actually smells being poofed out into the pod to coincide with what a movie scene might smell like.

"We think there's really a place to have a greater experience by adding other sensory integration," said Jeffrey Travis of Positron. "It's not just what you see in the headsets, it's how you feel when it moves you, how the director can guide you through different points of the story. It's the sound and feeling the haptic sensations in your back. You really lose yourself in the story."

The film I watched was a trailer for the movie "Le Mask". It opened with a picture of a child trapped in a straw basket. A second later I was in the basket as smells from the room emanated around me. A scene in a market smelled of perfume and musk. When I turned my head I saw everything that would be around me and as I moved the sounds moved with the action.

David Di Iulio from Harvard Publishing took a turn before me. It was his first virtual reality experience. "Yeah the musk smell at the end was pretty amazing," he said. "A few instances someone was throwing a coin and I almost went to grab it."

Ravi Velhal, a developer with Intel told me, "here is a full fledged cinema experience."

"I think what you're seeing here is the world's first cinema VR experience and how the future of theater in cinema VR should be," Velhal said

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