The Aura Interactor In Action
Start up your favorite flight simulator, or other computer game, and turn the power amplifier on by means of the switch that is combined with the volume control. Set the volume to about level five. The manual recommends setting the Filter control to number 10. Note that the manual also recommends settings for two other switches on the power amplifier and control unit. Now, start a piston-powered aircraft, and you’ll feel the engine vibration. Lower the flaps and you’ll feel more vibration. It’s subtle, but if you taxi on a rough surface, you’ll feel those vibrations also.
How does it work? Examining the Interactor’s backpack, my impression is that it’s a “sub-sub-woofer” – meaning a speaker that operates in so low a frequency range that many of the frequencies are just felt, not heard. Through open slots in the plastic housing, you can see what looks like the center of a large speaker, but instead of the usual paper cone, or diaphragm, it looks like the moving portion of the speaker is mechanically connected to the backpack itself. The result is that low frequency sounds are transmitted by the sound card, amplified by the Interactor’s power amplifier, then converted to both low frequency sounds and vibrations, which you feel on your back. Turning up the volume control noticeably increases the vibrations! Truly, it will “rattle your bones!”
If you find it to be cumbersome to strap on the Interactor for each use, Howard made another suggestion that I’ve followed: strap the Interactor to your chair, and it will pass the vibrations through the chair to your body. Howard originally strapped his Interactor to front side of his chair back, so he was sitting against it during operation. Subsequently, both Howard and I have strapped our Interactor's to the backs of our chairs, and this mounting still provides very convincing sensations.