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.

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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.

hardlight-suite-2

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.

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  • Get Schwifty!

    Just stick a few Lighthouse trackers on it… tracking problem solved right?

    I’m just imagining this with “teledildonics” added to the mix ;)

    • NooYawker

      I think setting off the correct rumble function in the right spot is the real issue.

  • evo_9

    The video would be a lot more convincing if they talked to the people using the vest after instead of just video of them using it. Honestly doesn’t look/seem any different than watching my friend use my current Vive setup. Not very encouraging when their own marketing video doesn’t do the basics like a user testimony. Still interested but I’m going to have to wait out proper reviews now. :(

  • Avatar39

    Well, I tested the Woojer vest:
    http://www.woojer.com in PAX Australia (they demo’d at the HTC VIVE suite with VIVE’s “Front Defense” VR game) and it was AMAZING!!! Already pre-ordered.
    I heard they’ll be at GDC later this month. Highly recommend you check them out if you’re around.

  • Ghosty

    Yeah I would only be interested it they added whole upper body tracking to the mix otherwise I’ll pass because I believe that upper body tracking is in fact more important than the feedback… Feedback is nice but it should be the addon feature to tracking not the other way around especially in these early days of VR and very post like avatars!

  • JustNiz

    If they can build the necessary software support for this straight into Unity/UE4/OpenVR then great, but as a PC gamer for 35+ years I’ve seen LOTS of different PC gaming accessories come and go, and any that require the game developers to explicitly include support for it in their games ALWAYS fail to go anywhere.

  • JMM21

    That actually would only look cool to wear if I was playing a FPS game…I could imagine it was actually part of my gear in the game like a bullet proof vest or something lol. Other than doing that idt I would want to wear that set-up.