Netflix hack day project adds phone vibrations to every on-screen explosion

The latest Netflix hack day created several interesting experiments, including a project that adds vibrations to the streaming service’s smartphone app for a more exciting way of watching content.

In a blog post, Netflix explained that the so-called hack days are a big deal at the company, bringing together employees from different departments “to explore new ideas and experiment with emerging technologies.”

One of the highlights of the most recent hack day, which focused on the company’s studio efforts, is Project Rumble Pak, created by Hans van de Bruggen and Ed Barker.

Project Rumble Pak explores how haptics will be able to enhance the Netflix viewing experience on smartphones. The creators used Voltron: Legendary Defender as the example for the project, which is not a bad idea considering all the action in the show. They synchronized the content with haptic effects using technology from Immersion Corporation.

“With every explosion, sword clank, and laser blast, you get force feedback to amp up the excitement,” according to the blog post.

Netflix has no shortage of content that will benefit from such a vibration feature. The company said that the purpose of hack days is to “support a culture of innovation,” but there is no assurance that Project Rumble Pak will find its way into the streaming service’s smartphone app any time soon.

Project Rumble Pak is not the only noteworthy result of the latest Netflix hack day.

The Voice of Netflix is a neural network that spots words in the streamer’s shows and reassembles them into sentences. For the hack day demonstration, the system was connected to a speech recognition engine that allowed it to respond to verbal questions using popular Netflix characters.

TerraVision helps filmmakers search and discover filming locations by allowing them to drop a picture of what their preferred background looks like in an interface. The system will then find the closest visual match to the image from its library of photos of filming locations.

Get Out! is a web application that allows employees to kick out people who are overstaying in a Netflix meeting room. The app does so through a variety of methods, including playing the walk-off music at the Academy Awards and simply telling the people to get out.


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