Tablets and headphones and giant massage chairs… Oh my! It’s been a fantastic first two days at the Consumer Electronics Show and I thought I’d better press pause to mention some of the initial highlights. I’ve been wandering the halls in a whimsical fashion and crashing events wherever the wind takes me (ie. sneak preview event PepCom, Lenovo party, iHollywood demo party, CES tweetup) and I’ve been lucky to meet tons of great people along the way. Shout out to Paul, John, Craig, Jeff and Dave – you know who you are.
So, what’s the gossip?! My favourite innovation so far is KOR-FX “4D sound” from company Immerz, which may sound a little far-fetched but it is awesome. I experienced Iron Man 2 last night in a whole new way, and let me tell you, I’m sure I was physically there on the set! The tech consists of a headphone-like device worn around your neck, down near your collar bones instead of your ears. You play the audio as normal (via headphones, speakers) and the KOR-FX device vibrates against you so you FEEL the sound in your body in addition to hearing it audibly. You will feel directional input depending if the sound is coming from the right or left, which really brings the whole scene to life like a hologram jumping off a page.
KOR-FX can be added to anything from video games to movies to an ipod, and it intensifies your emotional experience of what’s going on. It will make the scary parts feel scarier, the sad parts sadder, and the exciting parts more exciting! Did you ever have a rumble pack for your Nintendo 64 controllers? It’s a bit like that, but better. And in gaming, having a fourth dimension of sound helps improve a player’s performance because it adds a directional element (ie. to help indicate if a blast was from the left or from the right) and I presume the intensity improves your reaction times too.
While the company is targeting the gaming/entertainment market, they’re also exploring opportunities to help people with hearing impairments. I believe they said it improves hearing by 15-20% for people with difficulty, so it will be interesting to see if this can help offer a medical solution in addition to enhancing entertainment.
If this is intriguing to you too, check out the video on their website. The device just launched and is retailing for $189.99 (around £120), which I think seems reasonable… Anyone else excited? Seen anything like this? Curious to hear any thoughts.