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MPEG seeks sensory effects for multimedia content

Posted: 23 May 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:MPEG? sensory effect research? compression format?

OK, it's not exactly a Smell-O-Vision.

But imagine a world where multimedia content on your mobile device could trigger sensory effects such as fear, suspense or affectionall beyond what you'd normally experience from great scripts, plots, acting and directing. MPEG, an international group that successfully developed digital-audio video compression formats widely used in today's DTV, DVD and MP3 players, has set its sights on the development of a standard for sensory effects.

The MPEG group has just issued a call for proposals on the technology called "Representation of Sensory Effects (RoSE)." It is also looking for a way to introduce real-time sensory experiences to ordinary audio-visual content.

The sensory effects under consideration include such special effects like opening and closing curtains for mood changes, scare effects made by scent devices, flame-throwers, fog generators and shaking chairs. By adding such sensory effects, the group said it hopes to provide consumers with greater realism when viewing multimedia content.

Professional devices already exist for creating sensory effects such as fog generators and strobe lights for lightning.

The challenge for the MPEG group is to set up an overall framework and system architecture to represent such sensory effects in a standardized manner. The architecture will include sensory effect metadata, sensory device capabilities, sensory device commands, user sensory preferences and what the group calls a "RoSE Engine," which generates output data based on inputs.

Without standardization and agreement on a framework for a representation of sensory effects, it will be difficult to develop new delivery formats and appropriate sensory devices.

According to the MPEG group, sensory effect metadata, sensory device capabilities, sensory device commands and user sensory preferences are within the scope of standardization. But other elements like the RoSE Engine, provider entities and consumer devices will be left open to industry competition.

The deadline for submitting RoSE proposals is July 16, 2008. The group hopes to gain approval for its committee draft at an MPEG meeting scheduled Oct. 17 in Busan, South Korea.

- Junko Yoshida
EE Times

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