Teslasuit, the full body haptic ‘skin’ which uses an ‘electro-tactile’ feedback system to give the wearer sensations of touch, force and even warmth, has now hit Kickstarter but, perhaps predictably, it ain’t cheap!
We told you yesterday that UK based Tesla Studios were approaching the end of a 3 year R&D cycle and preparing to launch their ‘revolutionary’ haptic full-body suit via the Kickstarter crowd-funding platform. The ‘smart textiles’ used in Teslasuit is capable of transferring feedback from a virtual world through the use of electrical pulses direct to the skin.
The Teslasuit uses neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES), to transmit sensations directly to the wearers body via electric pulses. You may already be familiar with the technology if ever you’ve had athletic therapy or indeed used a TENS machine for pain relief.
The Tesla Studios folks claim to have taken this base tech and enhanced it for use in virtual reality applications. They claim the suit is capable of producing feedback spanning everything from full body hugs, to the impact of bullets and explosions (albeit hopefully not quite as painful or life threatening). Not only that, the suit can apparently simulate climate changes in the VR environment, warning the wearer to a claimed 30 degrees.
The textiles used in the suit are woven with conductive thread, layers with waterproof neoprene which, somewhat amazingly, makes the suit itself water proof and fully washable.
The suit is ‘powered’ via a central unit (the T-Belt). This central unit is then aided by bolt-on co-processors for Motion, Climate control and Haptics, check the link above for more a closer look at those units. The central processing unit apparently connects wirelessly to your PC – we’re trying to find precise details on how this works.
So, how much will this cutting-edge jumpsuit cost you? As ever with these things, you get what you pay for. To that end, there are two ‘tiers’ of Teslasuit sporting different levels of granularity in terms of body location for effects. Tesla Studios call these ‘channels’. If you opt for the lower cost ‘Pioneer’ version (starting at £1199), the full suit will deliver up to 30 channels of feedback, with the top-flight ‘Prodigy’ tier (£2099) offering up to 52 channels. One other note: if you want that awesome sounding climate control – you need to opt for Prodigy.
However, as the suit is made up of jacket and trousers, you can also opt for either piece at a lower cost. A single ‘Pioneer’ tier jacket will set you back £799 with the trousers £749. All of the above options include the processing boxes required to run the suit.
We’ll be digging a little deeper soon on this intriguing wearable, so stay tuned.