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.
Sound like something you'd wear? Hit the jump and tell us what you think.
Gaming with just a mouse and keyboard might soon be considered old school if all the new tactile feedback technologies gain traction. There already exists several virtual reality devices (see Norman Chan's Killing Box column in the Holiday 2008 issue of PC Gamer), and coming soon, VR technology will start knocking around your noggin.
TN Games, the same company responsible for the 3D Space Gaming Vest, announced it is working on a force feedback helmet. The company says the HTX helmet is designed to work in conjunction with its gaming vest and will deliver "blows to the head when are you are fired upon." Near-misses will also be registered, letting you "feel bullets whizzing by your helmet."
Rather than use haptic feedback, TN Games' approach to force feedback involves a small air compressor system capable of delivering up to five pounds of force per actuator. As TN Games puts it, five pounds of force feels similar to dropping a roll of pennies on your stomach from six inches above. The question is whether or not blows to the head can be considered safe, and TN Games says it is, claiming the helmet will pose no physical danger so long as it's used according to the instructions.
No pricing information information is yet available, though TN Games says you can expect the helmet sometime in 2009.