Morton Heilig

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Morton Leonard Heilig (December 22, 1926 – May 14, 1997)[1] was a thought-leader in Virtual Reality (VR).[2] He applied his cinematographer experience and with the help of his partner developed the Sensorama over several years from 1957, patenting it in 1962.[3]

It was big, bulky, and shaped like a 1980-ish arcade game. The Sensorama was quite impressive for 1960 technology. The game gave the player the experience of riding a motorcycle on the streets of Brooklyn. The player felt the wind on their face, the vibration of the motorcycle seat, a 3D view, and even smells of the city.[4]

Morton wanted to create “cinema of the future.” [5] The Sensorama was doomed, however, from the high costs of the filmmaking. The problem was not that the apparatus addressed the wrong senses; the business community just couldn't figure out how to sell it.[6] He was not able to find the amount of funds necessary to create new 3-D films “obtained with three 35 mm cameras mounted on the cameraman.”[7]

Morton is buried at Eden Memorial Park Cemetery in Mission Hills, Los Angeles, California, USA.


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