New technology helps uninspired fiction writers capture readers’ emotions

Maggie Knors Contributor
Font Size:

Books can now come alive with new interactive technology that aims to give the reader an “immersive storytelling experience.”

According to NPR, Massachusetts Institute of Technology engineers have created a book vest lined with “empathy.” Essentially, the book vest displays ambient light to fit the mood — red during a scene of danger, for example. The prototype also includes a vest that lets the reader physically “feel” what the characters do.

The new prototype is called Sensory Fiction. NPR editor Ellen McDonnell believes this devise might mean the quality of fiction will not have to be as good, since the technology will aid the story, especially when the devise can use sensors to change ambiance of the room and physically effects heart rate to leave the reader on the edge of their seat.

Watch a demo of Sensory Fiction:

“By using a combination of networked sensors and actuators, the Sensory Fiction author is provided with new means of conveying plot, mood, and emotion while still allowing space for the reader’s imagination,” the project team told “These tools can be wielded to create an immersive storytelling experience tailored to the reader.”

The book can take commands and lights up with each turn of the page, according to It aims to create a holistic reading experience, designers say.

Sensory Fiction will not be on shelves anytime soon, however, since it only began as a class project focused on science fiction at MIT.