Great cinema

Article of 30 May 2017 

Great cinema – seats with special effects

The screen shows a chase in a sports car across an Alpine pass. Tight bends, fast acceleration, sudden braking – and at the same time with the wind in your face and the smell of petrol and hot tyres in your nose. Until now, cinemagoers have only been able to experience films in 3D cinemas on a visual level. With special cinema seats like those made by the Californian company, MediaMation, they become an experience for all the senses. The seats move in sequence with the images in the film and thus place the person watching in the middle of the action. 

The effects are generated with the help of sophisticated automation technology. Pneumatic drives underneath the seats make them move by lifting them or tilting them to the side, depending on what scene is being shown in the film. Other components like standard VUVG valves provide additional effects such as gusts of wind, splashes of water or smells, meaning that the audience has the feeling of being there in person.

In order to be able to control the complex motion sequences as simply as possible, a Festo Motion Terminal is fitted in the chairs out of sight. This digitised automation platform is a pneumatic all-rounder, as it can be used to cover a wide range of functions with just one valve.

Digital pneumatics – controlled by apps

In the case of the cinema seats, the Motion Terminal regulates the air flow and pressure in the valves and drives in such a way that both quick and powerful, as well as soft and precise motion sequences are possible. Previously, such varied controls required a large number of additional automation components, which were responsible for the individual functions. With the Festo Motion Terminal, most of them are no longer necessary, as it uses software apps to reproduce various functions in a single valve. This means that it is able to replace over 50 individual components with a single piece of hardware. This makes installation, commissioning and maintenance much simpler and hence faster. It is also much easier to identify faults or potential improvements in this way.

The Motion Terminal is the first pneumatic automation platform in the world that is controlled by apps. With this hardware, digitisation is finding its way into the field of pneumatics and making it fit for Industry 4.0 – and the cinema will turn into Cinema 4.0 in future and be an experience for all the senses.

This animation shows you exactly how the Festo Motion Terminal works: