Home Theater technology has advanced considerably over the past two decades, but where can it go from here. New technologies for video screens and sound systems continue to be introduced. However, we have nearly reached the practical limits of our visual and auditory senses to appreciate any finer resolution or detail. A quantum leap in these domains is no longer possible. Even an order of magnitude increase is unlikely.

What is the new frontier? Our thinking has largely been two-dimensional with a focus on better screens, sound quality, and spatial sound dispersion. Is it time to seriously consider something a little more personal. A sense that is a little closer to home, like our sense of touch. Early attempts such as low frequency threshold transducers placed under the seat have been interesting at best. However, the discordance between sound and transducer-based sounds and thumping is often distracting and has been limited to only very low frequencies.

Do people really want to be touched by what they’re hearing or do they prefer the more sterile two-dimensional viewing and listening environment? Why do people like loud music or movie sound effects? Why is the sound volume in movie theaters so loud? Why do so many people like listening to loud music in their cars or install subwoofers? People are looking to be swept up in the feelings that they are seeing and hearing. They crave greater immersion in what they are listening to and watching. They simply want to feel more. Can technology deliver?

The BodySound™ Home Entertainment chair is an emerging technology that delivers the quality of sound and full spectrum tactile stimulation that people are looking for. Seamlessly embedded within the ultra-comfortable BodySound chair is a complete sound system, including six audio speakers. The combination of materials and mechanical and electrical design produce the BodySound effect—the fusion of hearing and feeling. In no other chair can you experience the intimate touch of full spectrum, high quality sound that is felt and heard throughout your body.

The system can operate in a stereo mode (wired or wireless) and a theater mode, which is surround sound compatible. The electronics are custom designed and allow for separate control of the four body speakers from the two shoulder speakers. The body speakers supply the majority of the sound and vibration to the body. The shoulder speakers are geared more for sound (surround sound in theater mode for movies and stereo for music, TV, or gaming).

In addition to standard amplifier functionality (balance between seat and back speakers, balance between the shoulder speakers, independent tone control for both shoulder and body speakers, independent volume control, etc.) there are also a number of features that are patent pending, such as the SoundNumber™ system. This system allows the user to personalize their sound space. They can set a desired decibel level, which is then automatically monitored and controlled by the amplifier to reduce loud commercials or increase hard to hear segments of soundtracks. Another feature that will undoubtedly put a smile on your face includes independent pressure activation of the seat and back cushions. The speakers in the respective cushions are only activated when there is pressure applied to that part of the chair. The chair literally turns itself on and off and with the SoundNumber system, runs itself.

It is hard to imagine, but the system is also installer/customer friendly. It is fully modular in design for shipping and easy serviceability. Five separate modules (two arms, seat, back, and base) are assembled with only six screws and one pin. Built-in diagnostics allow for monitoring the signal strength of all incoming signals from your receiver, DVD, CD player, TV, etc. Whatever you have connected to the internal BodySound amplifier can be monitored and used to automatically set internal preamp levels to guarantee the best sound production in the chair, maximize the volume range and avoid distortion from over-range signals. For an emerging technology, this is a very mature, well thought out product, ready for launch.

It feels as though home theaters are about to become three dimensional.