3D Tv was almost a thing, once again. It was a fad in the eighties made a big comeback in 2000s and now everybody has gone back thinking its just a bit of a gimmick again, But have you heard of 4D? Let’s take a look.
So what is 4d?
Well, do you want the technical answer? The first three dimensions are length, height and depth – which provides the difference between the second and third dimension. The fourth dimension is often considered to be Spacetime. Explaining the complex nature of Spacetime goes way beyond the scope of this article. But it has to do with space and time!
What 4D are you talking about?
We are looking at 4-dimensional cinema and interactive rides. These are generally simulator type rides or cinemas where you have 3d glasses. This gives the initial 3D factor. Then there are other stimuli to further the feeling of immersion.
What do you mean by other stimuli?
Imagine you are watching an action scene and a building explodes nearby. During a 4d experience, you will get a blast of heat passing over you. Or you are cruising along on an ocean liner and it hits an iceberg as you see pieces of the iceberg falling off you are sprayed with icy cold water. This technology is designed to make you feel like you are part of the action.
Does this technology exist
Yes, it absolutely does. Rides at some of the bigger theme parks include experiences like this. In fact, they have been around for some time. I have personally experienced one of the rides and that was more than a decade ago. 3D technology has come a long way since then and I can only assume that the technology responsible for dispensing the physical stimuli have also progressed.
Where can I experience it?
Major theme parks are still a good place to experience the phenomena and it is well worth it. Places like Disney and Universal Studios often have rides that take advantage of the 4D film. However, some modern cinemas take advantage of the technology. However, there are very few films that are designed to take advantage.
So is it just hot and cold in a 4d experience?
Not necessarily, no. Weather effects such as rain and wind can all be simulated. Strobe lighting is used to give the impression of lightning. Sometimes live actors are used as part of the experience. Smell-o-vision is also occasionally incorporate to take advantage of underutilised senses. And the chair that you sit in can have a dramatic effect on the experience. In some rides, you will literally be in a cart and move along a track like a traditional ride. In others, you have chairs that can move, vibrate and have things like back ticklers.
Whether or not it will catch on remains to be seen. The initial set up costs are expensive. There is a good reason why this technology is primarily found in theme parks. It is remarkably effective at helping immerse you into a film though.
While technology seems to focus on screen resolution there are always people who are interested in gimmicks like 4D and many consider these sort of experiences to be the future. However is there scope to take this technology beyond the realms of the cinema? Probably not, but then there was a time when the idea of having a cinema-sized screen in your own homes was the realm of science fiction and yet most homes now have 50” plus screen hanging on their walls. It doesn’t appear an area that is being developed at the moment but eventually, might we see a home-based “4-d chair”?