Vibrating controllers may soon be considered old-school if Philips' new force feedback jacket catches on. The jacket, which was revealed by Philips at the IEEE-sponsored 2009 World Haptics Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah, looks to bring a whole new level of immersion to multimedia content.
"We want people to feel Bruce Lee's anxiety about whether he will get out alive, causing a shiver to go up the viewer's spine and creating the feeling of tension in the limbs," said Paul Lemmens , Philips senior scientist.
To accomplish that goal, the jacket makes use of several physical actuators to affect the person wearing it, rather than relying on sound or motion-based vibration. There are sixty-four independently controlled actuators in all that extend from the torso on down to the arms, which are paired in arrays of four. Each array shares its own processor and is capable of being cycled on and off at a rapid rate of over 100 times per second, Philips says.
The concept may be more feasible than you think, at least from a power perspective. Philips claims the jacket can run on a pair of AA batteries for a full hour with twenty of the actuators being continuously triggered.