At Netflix’s most recent internal hackathon — the yearly session where employees of the streaming giant group together into teams and kick around creative ideas outside of their normal jobs — one team had an idea for a way to make watching content on the mobile app more satisfyingly immersive.
They call it the Rumble Pack, and it’s a haptic feedback concept that would make your phone shake and rumble in sync with the action you’re seeing on the screen while watching Netflix.
You can get a sense of it in the video above, but it’s pretty straightforward. It would be comparable to what gamers feel while using modern controllers — and it was definitely one of the more compelling ideas to emerge from Netflix’s hack day the streaming giant held back in May, a time when the company’s engineers get to let their hair down a little, creatively speaking, and have some fun.
You might recall other prominent hacks to emerge from earlier iterations of this event, like the time Netflix engineers managed to get a video stream running on a 1950s era TV. Or the cool eye-controlled navigation hack that the company’s engineers built for the iOS app.
“You’re watching your favorite episode of Voltron when, after a suspenseful pause, there’s a huge explosion – and your phone starts to vibrate in your hands,” Netflix explained in a blog post summarizing the recent hackathon. “The Project Rumble Pak hack day project explores how haptics can enhance the content you’re watching. With every explosion, sword clank, and laser blast, you get force feedback to amp up the excitement.”
Netflix has been hosting this creative gathering for a few years now. While most of the ideas probably won’t ever see the light of day, it is interesting to see what the company’s immensely creative talent comes up with. Which serves as one more reminder of how the streamer is constantly pushing the envelope and the boundaries of what’s possible, as it’s done for years to help it achieve the streaming supremacy it enjoys today.