Great Movies in Cinema 4.0

Experiencing films with all the senses – this is what cinema audiences can do in one of the world’s 18,000 MediaMation cinema seats. With this concept, the whole body participates in the movie. The movements are controlled by a Festo Motion Terminal VTEM. This provides a unique way of combining digitisation and pneumatics.

A chase involving sports cars is unfolding on the screen. On a hairpin bend, the cinema seats tilt to the left – only to swing back to the right when the car is travelling straight ahead again. The cinemagoers feel the unevenness of the road surface, hear the screeching of the tyres when the driver brakes and smell burnt rubber and exhaust fumes. Suddenly water is splashed into the audience’s faces as the car drives through a puddle. At the same time, they can feel a draft of air blowing through their hair.

The cinema audience becomes one with the film. In the MX4D Motion EFX seats produced by the Californian company MediaMation, the audience has the feeling that they are actors themselves. The seats incline, shimmy and lift. Effects and synchronised movements with gusts of wind, water splashes, vibration and scents are piped in through the V2 EFX armrests of the cinema seats, while pressure points are incorporated in the backs of the seats.

Fig 1. Experiencing films with all the senses – this is what cinema audiences can do in one of the 18,000 MediaMation cinema seats throughout the world.

Industry 4.0 makes it all possible

Industry 4.0 is delivering “Cinema 4.0” – the Festo Motion Terminal VTEM controls all kinds of motion and triggers all the effects. This versatile pneumatic control system integrates digital functions into a single valve. Pre-programmed function modules and motion apps eliminate the need for costly system structures. The motion apps “Proportional directional control valve” and “Proportional pressure regulation” control the flow rates and pressures to ensure fast and powerful yet gentle and precise motion sequences.

Fig 2. Right in the middle of the film action: the Festo Motion Terminal makes cinema seats very mobile and generates some surprising effects. The audience experiences each scene with all their senses.

Compact and simple

The motion profiles for the films are processed in a controller CPX-CEC directly on the Festo Motion Terminal. Many hardware components previously required are now superfluous. Three valves VTEM control the three actuators of each cinema seat, while one valve is responsible for pressure regulation. Inexpensive standard valves VUVG-…-S from Festo’s core product range are used for the effects such as the gusts of wind.

“The Festo Motion Terminal makes everything much easier for us. Installation, commissioning, diagnostics and fault-finding can now be realised with far fewer components,” says a very pleased Dan Jamele, CEO of MediaMation.

Digitisation and apps

 As a key contributor to Industry 4.0, VTEM allows many new functions to be integrated thanks to digitisation and piezo technology. “We already have many different apps to choose from, such as proportional pressure regulation, presetting of travel time and selectable pressure level, depending on each individual film scene,” explains Takayoshi Kawakami, Director of Engineering at MediaMation. MediaMation with its fast and intuitive operation is very well received in the age of “Cinema 4.0”.