A UK based company company who has integrated EMS (Electro Muscular Stimulation) into a wireless suit, they claim is capable of allowing you to feel sensations ranging from a cool breeze to the impact of a bullet.

Tsuit_v2_jacket_02VR headsets are, at least for 2016, somewhat of a known quantity now. Most focus is therefore moving to delivering compelling input solutions that unlock the interactive potential of VR. But what’s missing once that problem is solved. The answer is feedback from that virtual world. The folks at UK based Tesla Studios think they may have the answer – an suit that electrically stimulates your muscles in response to actions or stimuli from the virtual world.

Teslasuit uses EMS (Electro Muscular Stimulation) fed to your nervous system via a skintight suite covering the user’s body. The latest prototype delivers a simulation of a sense of touch or pressure on your skin, so if someone pokes you in VR, you feel it at the corresponding point on your body. The system was recently demonstrated as part of a TV documentary, where UK celebrity Sara Cox (wearing the suit) was able to ‘feel’ a hug from a motion captured demonstrator from across the room.


Not only that, but the suite is also a temperature control device, so in combination with the EMS feedback, the suite can also simulate temperature changes in response to environmental effects in the VR experience.

Ubisoft to Support Haptic Vest in 'Assassin's Creed Mirage', But No Word Yet on 'Nexus' VR Game
The main processsing unit for Teslasuit, running the proprietary TeslaOS
The main processsing unit for Teslasuit, running the proprietary TeslaOS

The team claim the system is compatible with all VR headsets, but we’re currently waiting on answers to precisely what this means in practice. According Tesla Studios, the suit itself is powered by a suit-mounted processing unit, packing a Quad Core 1Ghz processor and 1GB RAM and a 10000mAh battery. The unit runs a proprietary OS called Tesla OS. The processing units are designed to be modular, with Haptics, Motion Capture and Climate Control all receiving their own units, linked to the main processing unit – worn on the belt.

The unit is apparently also capable, once the Mocap unit is fitted, of capturing the user’s body motion, feeding it directly to the application in real-time. What kind of fidelity is possible from what is presumably an IMU based system remains to be seen – we’ll report back with some more details on this soon.

It’s the kind of thing that genuinely sounds like the stuff of science fiction. Nevertheless, Tesla Studios says it’s on track to bring its second, 52 channel prototype suits to Kickstarter from tomorrow (1st January).

No details on cost is currently available, but the feedback videos included on this page certainly look promising. Questions remain around VR headset integration and how software interfacing, which will presumably have to be specifically integrated to get the most out the the hardware, will work.

Until we’ve managed to try it out for ourselves of course, we’ll reserve judgement. But we’re very excited at the prospect of technical like this approaching reality in any form.

This article may contain affiliate links. If you click an affiliate link and buy a product we may receive a small commission which helps support the publication. See here for more information.

  • GreaseMeUp

    Imagine this being used in vr porn. I get tingles just thinking about it.

    • Bob

      Possibilities are endless my friend.

  • xardox

    “The main processsing unit for Teslasuit, running the proprietary TeslaOS”

    Because the one thing that every haptic feedback suit needs is its own proprietary operating system. I’m sure glad they’ve got their eye on the ball and are concentrating on important issues, and that their core competency is designing and supporting a new proprietary operating system. No way that could possibly be a distraction from finishing their product that they’re asking you to fund.

    • Bibi David

      Hi, I have read somewhere that they were going to make this TeslaOS of theirs Open Source anyway. Don’t see any problems with a proprietary OS for a device or bunch of devices. We made one when I was working in IR CCTV research at Uni purely because we needed better performance for a specific set of tasks that the OS was meant to support

      • xardox

        They did use the term “proprietary”, so I’d like to where you heard that they’re making it open source. Making an operating system open source doesn’t magically enable a rich ecosystem of talented programmers to support and develop your home brew operating system, or fix all the bugs and security holes. The last thing the world needs is yet another operating system. There’s nothing about Linux or Android or some off-the-shelf operating system that won’t suffice. Developing your own operating system for use in the real world, as opposed to a university research project, is an enormous, expensive, complex, and pointless undertaking, worthy of a kickstarter of its own, if even that. The fact that they’re developing their own proprietary or even open source operating system is a waring sign, as much of a distraction as if they were developing their own coffee machine because they like to drink coffee while they work, instead of concentrating on their core product.

    • micmac95

      Calling it an operating system was probably a mistake. It’s more than likely just some proprietary code taking data and doing stuff with it running directly on a microcontroller, and they decided to put OS in its name.

      • xardox

        And that speaks to how much they feel they have to fluff up their resume to impress people.

        • Proprietary or not, I suppose if it were going to be an end-user OS with a user interface, (CLI at the very least) might require a significant undertaking. But this is an operating system which is likely being designed to do only a few very specialised tasks. These kinds of operating systems are light on resource consumption and complexity, so it’s reasonable to think that to provide a slick, responsive product the suit will need its own OS to reduce latency as much as possible. Sure, it’s fun to argue about semantics and sometimes it makes you feel smart, but in the end you’ve only proven that you like to argue. I’d be surprised if you weren’t just some bored neck-beard with a thirst for drama.

          • xardox

            Implementing yet another operating system is a solved problem, and one that doesn’t need to be solved again from scratch in order to implement a tactile skin VR suit. There’s nothing special that a tactile skin VR suit needs out of an operating system that many other applications don’t also need out of operating systems, and that many other operating systems don’t already provide. Tell me what exactly it is that you think a tactile skin VR suit needs from an operating system that is special and unique, and not provided by any other operating system? Do you really think this is the only application that requires a small light weight fast efficient operating system, and that no operating systems like that already exist? The fact that they’re bragging about having their own proprietary operating system means that they’re going to waste the money they’re asking you to donate on something that is totally unnecessary. It’s a sign that they’re never going to achieve what they set out to do, because they got distracted by a totally non-related waste of time and energy. Writing your own operating system is totally unnecessary yak shaving. https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/yak_shaving

            So the ball is in your court to tell me what’s so unique about this tactile skin VR suit, that no other existing operating system can meet its needs, which requires them to develop their own proprietary operating system.

          • Again, semantics. I’ve been following this startup for a while now and nowhere have I ever heard them BRAGGING about having a fully customised operating system for their hardware. You’re assuming the company are talking about a complete piece of firmware written from scratch instead of thinking a little more broadly with the term “operating system”. Your argument isn’t useful, it’s just conjecture. But hey, I’ll bite.

            They’re designing custom hardware and need to write drivers and design an API to communicate with other software.

            That covers a pretty significant number of operating system layers. You’d have to be a special kind of nit-pick to continue at this point, but this is where I’m leaving it because I have better things to do than continue this pointless debate.

  • AussieStig

    I think something akin to a G-Suit would work best with tactile in VR. For flying and racing games it would take the immersion level of these genres to the next level.

  • vrbanist

    Pre-orders are available now on teslasuit.com for $1,499

  • wheeler

    I can’t tell if the temperature control is localized or if it’s uniform throughout the entire suit. Also I assume this thing needs to be worn in direct contact with your skin so I’m curious how it holds up to washing.

  • Johnny Virgil

    Does it come with a Phantom console? Can you play Half Life 3 with it?

    • OgreTactics

      The Phantom exists and was never commercialised, Half-Life 3 will be released in 2 or 3 years max. Fuck skeptics like you.

      • Johnny Virgil

        The Phantom was vaporware. What “exists” is the failed lapboard they made with what little investor money the founders didn’t run off with. I have a Rift and I like to stay on the bleeding edge, but this suit… even if it is ever released, it’s going to be a “lapboard” in functionality. Do you think haptic feedback feels like a cool breeze?

      • Johnny Virgil

        Just dropped by to say told you so. Check out the Kickstarter page now! Project canceled
        February 2, 2016

        • OgreTactics

          They didn’t. The kickstarter was cancelled because of a lack of backers, but the project itself is still live (I believe), there’s a legit review of it (https://adamshawbiz.com/2016/06/10/a-hug-and-a-shot/) and they even commercialised some kits.

          • Johnny Virgil

            Last update from the dev on their own site was October of 2015. We’ll see.

          • OgreTactics

            You miss the point. Of course it’s not perfect and bulky. But has there ever been a suit that does this before? Is there any other haptic suit that does this? Don’t think so.

            The fact that it exists now (well a year ago), is the starting point from which we will get our untethered and slim VR body suit, not by magic unless you’ve got a Steve Jobs in your hands.

          • Johnny Virgil

            So, how’s it coming?

            There is a REASON I am a skeptic. And fuck you too. :)

          • OgreTactics

            Okay I’m going to be more precise: it’s not going to be until at least 4/5 years that we’ll get an affordable and sleek vest or even belt (that would be the best for factor). But the sooner you start the sooner you get there.

          • Johnny Virgil

            Wait… commercialised some kits? From your own link: ” I was under the impression there might be a range of them for me to try. As it turned out – there was only one.” What did I miss? I am also still curious as to how they are going to pull off the sensations of wet, dry, soft, hard, breeze, hugs, etc. using haptic feedback. When shown the “hug”, the tester said, “In reality I just felt lots of small electric shocks. It wasn’t like any hug I’ve ever had.”

            VR users often complain even about the “bulkiness” of the HMD. I don’t think many will want to go through the annoyance of suiting up every time they want to play a game, nor experience the heat of a rubber suit while jumping around, especially since every advertised “sensation” is just varying degrees of electrical shocks.

      • Johnny Virgil

        When’s that HL3 release date, btw?