Samsung is prepared to explore previously uncharted territory by experimenting with content-dependent somatosensory output, according to a new patent the company recently filed. Essentially, the idea is for Samsung to create a wearable that's able to stimulate a wearer's somatic senses, such as pressure, wind, and temperature, among others. The company plans to accomplish this with a special device of some sort, which appears to be a tablet, that's capable of generating ultrasonic frequency templates that are thought to activate somatosensory activity. This device will then create those templates based on what content the user is engaging with, and send those templates to a special external wearable, which looks a lot like a pair of high-end headphones, to be activated, hopefully allowing the wearer to feel whatever's happening in the content.
The attached drawings that Samsung included with the patent application essentially explain exactly how the company expects the whole thing to work. The headphones will have an array of ultrasonic speakers along the length of headband, which will each be targeted at a different region of the brain. Variables like geomagnetism, acceleration, infrared light in the environment, and air pressure will all be taken into consideration when tweaking the ultrasonic signal before sending it to the wearable in order to have it passed to the user. This will all be accomplished through some sort of computer program that will analyze content, which could mean that Samsung will be putting its AI smarts to use in order to analyze scenes and decide what kind of somatosensory input would recreate the conditions therein in order to further immerse the viewer.
This system, if Samsung actually creates it, will be the first of its kind; an ultrasonic-based mobile somatosensory output paired with an AI that analyzes scenarios in media and associates those scenarios and various bits of content with somatosensory scenarios, then figures out how best to replicate those in the device and user's current real-world environment. This will be no small accomplishment if Samsung pulls it off, and it likely won't be long until competitors start putting their own spin on the concept.