High Fidelity, the open source VR platform founded by Second Life creator Philp Rosedale, and NeoSensory, a Palo Alto-based haptics company, announced they’ve partnered to create a haptic jacket dubbed the ‘exoskin’.
A beta version of the device, which is available for pre-oder through NeoSensory for $400, features 32 sensory motors, and will support High Fidelity’s titular open source VR platform.
The target release date of exoskin is slated for July, 2018.
Venture Beat‘s Dean Takahashi went hands-on with exoskin while jacked into a High Fidelity nightclub using an Oculus Rift, saying that he and another journalist “spent some time touching each other, and I could feel the sensations of touch on my torso and back via the haptic sensors on the vest. It was a buzzing sort of feeling.”
Co-founded by neuroscientists Dr. David Eagleman and Dr. Scott Novich in 2013, NeoSensory offers several haptic products already, including a wrist-mounted haptic devices for the deaf, and a haptic vest dubbed simply ‘VEST’ (Versatile Extra-Sensory Transducer) which was featured in Season 2 of HBO’s Westworld.
While High Fidelity’s platform is technically hardware agnostic, CEO Philip Rosedale says that NeoSensory “solves the absence of touch in VR” thanks to the company’s “deep neuroscience research and experience with haptic response.”
High Fidelity is focusing on building the foundation of a truly scalable VR platform. Late last year the company integrated DigitalOcean’s cloud server technology which lets High Fidelity users create their own cloud-hosted ‘VR domain’. In addition to its own centrally-regulated cryptocurrency High Fidelity Coin (HFC), they’ve also created the beginnings of an online economy, replete with virtual shops and a digital registry tied to the blockchain that verifies ownership and the exchange of digital goods.
“We are very excited to extend our product leadership into making VR a better experience,” Rosedale said, speaking about NeoSensory’s exoskin.