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DOOH | Haptics lets Pokémon fans feel lightning attacks

Pokémon: Detective Pikachu is predicted to be the highest-grossing video game adaptation of all time. Saurabh Gupta, Director, Product Strategy at Ultrahaptics, talks about how Pokémon fans have been connecting with the franchise in an L.A. movie theater through the sense of touch.

Seems like there’s a lot of folks right now who just want to live in Ryme City with their own Pokémon. Fans have been flocking to see the new live-action Detective Pikachu movie and calling it “heartfelt”, “a pure joy from start to finish” and “adorably funny”.

Creating emotional connections between characters and fans is the lifeblood of entertainment brands. Get it right (as the Pokémon franchise has done) and you create super-fans and passionate brand advocates. Pokémon is the highest-grossing media franchise of all time.

If you’d headed to Regal L.A. Live around the time of the movie release, you’d have come across an interactive Detective Pikachu poster installation.

It connects Pokémon fans and characters in a new and tangible way. I’ll give you a clue: it involves being able to feel one of Pikachu’s lightning attacks.

Video of Detective Pikachu gameplay

Pika pika! An interactive DOOH experience—with lightning attacks you can feel

In the experience, motion tracking tracks your 3D hand movements, enabling you to control a magnifying glass on-screen. You use this to explore the Ryme City street landscape and search for clues (Pokémon signs: Charizard BBQ, anyone?).

Here’s the cool part. As you’re using your hand to navigate the scene, you’re guided by tactile sensations that you feel on your hand. Then, when you find a sign, a lightning-type attack comes from Pikachu.

You can actually feel the lightning sensation in mid-air—the tingle along your fingers, and then the explosion.

How is this even possible?

Let’s back up a bit.

Pikachu, meet haptics in DOOH

Mounted in front of the digital poster screen is an interactive device. It contains a camera that tracks your hand, and a small set of ultrasonic speakers.

By locating your hand in space and precisely controlling ultrasound waves, the device projects tactile sensations (or haptics) directly onto your hands.

That’s how, when you interact, you can feel Pikachu’s lightning attacks. People have been telling us that it takes their connection with Pikachu onto a whole new level.

“I loved it, the feelings on the hands brought the experience up a level. It feels like Pikachu. My son is obsessed with Pokémon, he would love it!”

“It was electric like Pikachu”

“The electricity fits into it, it feels like Pikachu!”

Haptics in DOOH lets fans feel the magic

Millennials are digital natives looking for richer ways to connect with their favourite characters. Fans of this generation crave deep emotional connections. They also want to enter virtual worlds and believe they’re real.

By creating tactile, interactive experiences we develop tangible connections to the magical and supernatural elements of brand characters: lightning, force fields, magical sparkles, spooky sensations, raindrops, waterfalls, bubbles…. And these elements are, after all, often what makes those characters special.

In our Shazam! interactive DOOH installation (also at Regal L.A. Live), fans could use Shazam’s powers to destroy the letters of the movie title. They could actually feel those powers coming out of their own hands.

Video of Shazam! gameplay

Haptics and DOOH – Technology and trends report

To find out more about how Ultrahaptics’ technology can be used to deepen connections between entertainment brands and customers in DOOH, download our whitepaper.

ultrahaptics dooh whitepaper layout

Saurabh Gupta leads Product and Commercial Strategy for the digital out-of-home sector for Ultrahaptics

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