Chad Kunimoto highlights the link between our senses, emotions, and memories and how sensory technology can combine with projection to unlock the full potential of your media-based XR attraction.
Blog post by Chad Kunimoto for TEA
We have all experienced moments when a certain image, scent, taste, sound, or texture triggered powerful memories and emotions. These memories are so deeply ingrained because our senses are directly connected to the limbic system—the primitive brain region responsible for associating sensory memory with emotion.
Research indicates that using sensory technology to heighten the visual realism of media-based attractions can significantly enhance the guests’ ability to feel and remember the experience. This notion is widely supported by industry leaders, with a recent London & Partners survey revealing that 78 percent of event planners believe that multi-sensory events deliver more memorable and creative experiences.
Marketers have long been aware of the power of the senses in converting sales by leveraging scent, sound, lighting, and touch to influence our feelings and behaviors. These same techniques can be effectively harnessed in the experience economy to make media-based attractions more authentic and create lasting sensory memories.
Stimulating the senses for memorable experiences
The possibilities for stimulating different senses and elevating the overall experience are virtually limitless. For example, the New York Met has successfully bridged the gap between visual and tactile experiences by incorporating replica sculptures embedded with fragrances and interactive sounds. Another intriguing concept involves using acoustic levitation to suspend food particles in the air, creating a taste delivery system.
Research has demonstrated the remarkable effectiveness of scent in captivating viewers and immersing them more deeply in the visual content. Additionally, spatial audio can enhance the realism of projected images by providing directional sounds that envelop the audience. To further enhance the realism of projections, attraction designers have been experimenting with novel screen surfaces like glass, water, ribbon screens, and even organic objects.
Mist, for instance, is an established technique that adds dimensionality and atmosphere to images while refreshing the mind and body. Silky Fine Mist, when combined with high-brightness 4K laser projection, has been utilized with great success in recent projects such as the collaboration between media artist Refik Anadol and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, as well as the award-winning Japan Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai.
Striking the right balance
Implementing sensory technology presents its own set of challenges, particularly when it comes to achieving harmony between form and function. Defining a specific objective is crucial; understanding what you want your audience to feel and remember is the key to striking the right balance among the various sensory elements.
However, it is not uncommon for clients seeking assistance in creating a multisensory attraction to lack a clear vision of the desired outcome. In such cases, it becomes essential for the technology partner to help them visualize the end result by showing how the physical environments and digital images can be fused seamlessly together with sensory enhancement. Finding the optimal equilibrium between image quality and cost-effectiveness while ensuring ease of operation and sustainability is just as vital as the final outcome itself.
Co-creation helps to realize your vision
In addition to having access to creative engineers who can help conceptualize and execute your vision, it is beneficial to collaborate with a technology partner such as Panasonic Connect, a global company that’s capable of providing a diverse range of technologies, consultancy services, and on-site support, all under one roof.
Maintaining open communication between the technology partner and the creator, from the initial conception to the final execution, is crucial. This ensures that integrating the emotional “extra dimension” binds your guests to the experience, increasing their likelihood of remembering, sharing, and revisiting your attraction.
The technology is readily available, and your audience is eagerly waiting. All you need is a clear vision. If you require assistance in piecing together the multisensory puzzle for your museum, location-based attraction, concert, immersive experience, artainment show, sporting event, exhibition, trade show, or any other endeavor, please reach out to me with your questions or ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chad Kunimoto is the Global Business Development Manager for Themed Entertainment and Immersive Experiences at Panasonic Connect.