Gaming Suit Adds Tactile Element To VR Experiences
With Hardlight VR's new suit, gamers will be able to feel the weight of a sword or a shot to the chest through haptic feedback
Imagine the feel of a sword piercing through you, or the recoil of a gun as you shoot your enemy in a game—virtual reality startup Nullspace VR is about to make that possible (sort of). The company is looking to make its VR gaming experience much more immersive by adding a missing element: touch. With the new Hardlight VR suit, gamers will be able to feel physical elements from the game with vibrations.
Thanks to its 16 haptic zones, which are strategically placed according to different muscle groups, the suit is equipped with location feedback as well as integrated tracking, which allows the program to track a player’s entire upper body in virtual space in order to represent an accurate avatar. It’s compatible with all PC-based VR headsets, comes with a developer API for easy integration, weighs about 3.5 pounds and has a battery life of four hours. It’s “one-size-fits-most” and can be adjusted for different body types. At $300 for pre-order, it’s reasonably affordable, compared to similar devices in the market.
The feeling the player receives from the suit isn’t actually painful, since it provides vibro-tactile feedback using technology similar to the vibrate function of most cell phones. However, it does add another dimension to the overall experience and, as VR Fitness Insider points out, it bridges the gap between the game and reality, allowing for quicker reactions and increasing motivation. Hardlight VR doesn’t have any gloves, which some reviewers have critiqued. But, adding gloves would increase the price considerably. Nullspace has a variety of games that have been developed with haptics in mind. The list includes boxing with Mech League Boxing, Sairento and Cyberthreat, among others.