Just when you thought 3-D was the zenith of the immersive theatergoing experience, Sony takes it a step further with patented vests that will make you feel like you're part of a movie. According to Variety, the studio will be field-testing the technology on Insidious: The Last Key at the CineAsia exhibitors’ and distributors’ convention in Hong Kong. The fourth Insidious movie will be the first film to use this technology for its entire runtime. CineAsia attendees can choose to use the vest for a 15-minute segment of the film or the entire movie.
Utilizing what's known as haptic technology (it's similar to the touch feature on any smartphone), the vests were created by Sony and provide actual sensations on the body that sync up with what's being shown on screen. We're guessing that this means the vest vibrates softer or harder depending on how scared (or jarred) the movie wants you to be.
Sal Ladestro, executive vice president for marketing for Sony Pictures Releasing International, tells Variety that moviegoers will be "literally feeling the visceral sensations of the frights and thrills of the film.”
The outlet also reports that Sony is currently in talks to expand the technology to other theaters and parts of the world, starting in January. Whether it will only be used for Sony-made movies is unclear — as are the mechanics of how this would actually work.
Admittedly, it is a bit ridiculous to picture a theater usher handing you a bulky vest after they tear your ticket, the way they hand you a pair of 3-D glasses, which are simply recycled after the film is over. With haptic vests, movie theaters might feel like they've signed on for a game of laser tag. Then there's the issue of keeping them clean and odor-free.
Look like Insidious: The Last Key will serve as that litmus test. The film opens on Jan. 5.