NullSpace VR are poised to launch a new haptic vest focused toward immersive, virtual reality gaming, via Kickstarter soon. The Hardlight suit integrates 16 haptic pads that allow you to feel directional impact linked to actions inside the VR experience.
We’re all for amping up immersion on Road to VR, via whatever means necessary frankly. But our experiences in the world of wearable haptics as a mean to do so has not been exactly stellar so far. Nevertheless, the appeal of having directional, accurate force feedback which allows your chosen VR experience to punish you for your failures, or indeed merely give you a prod into action, is clear.
NullSpace VR, are poised to unleash their solution to this gap in the VR haptics market and they’re calling it the Hardlight Suit. This upper-body vest contains 16 haptic pads for delivering feedback to your chest, back, arms and shoulders. These pads can be triggered by any software integrated with NullSpace VR’s APIs and indeed, the company (who’ve made substantial progress since we first covered them) have persuaded a number of VR developers, including recent Indie favourite Sairento VR, to add Hardlight Suit support.
The team recently took their latest prototype to the World’s Fair ‘Nano’ event to show off their progress, filming attendee reaction for posterity.
The key concern for us is still the accuracy at which the suit can detect your orientation in relation to the virtual world. The Hardlight Suit contains inertial sensors, which detect rotational movement, but these sorts of sensors are not absolute and therefore can suffer from drift and positional inaccuracies. That said, since we first covered the suit, we now have room-scale capable positional tracking for both headsets and motion controllers, which adds more data to guess the user’s body orientation, but there are still gaps in that data which will need to be filled in order to be truly immersive.
The vest has been cannily designed, with a simple, open design and adjustable straps which should allow the system to be worn by people of varying shapes and sizes.
The team are adding the finishing touched to their Kickstarter campaign as I write this and we’ll pass on more details on that once they go live. In the mean time, if you’ve gone hands on with the Hardlight Suit in the past, why not share your experiences in the comments section below.