Teslasuit is a full body VR and AR-enabled haptic suit designed by Tesla Studios (not related to Elon Musk) where the wearer will step into the flexible suit, zip up, and feel physical sensations along the body as they play and interact within virtual worlds. Wearers will feel a wide range of haptic impacts like the subtle patter of raindrops against the skin, the cold gust of wind, the warmth of a dragon’s flame, or the hit of a sword across the body.
A Bit About Haptics
Haptics is the act of touch and the sensation of feeling touch, impact, or stimulation from the environment. Haptic technology can be found in the rumbling in gaming controllers and vibration patterns of cell phones. Have you ever thought you felt your cell phone vibrate in your pocket to look at it and no message or call? That’s a little sad, but it’s an example of phantom haptic sensation!
As technology expands, Teslasuit and other haptic driven companies like Hardlight VR and Synesthesia Suit are creating high-tech wearables that will increase the immersion and excitement you feel in VR. Other innovators like HaptX and ManusVR are already developing haptic gloves, while companies like Cerevo design haptic boots!
What Teslasuit Has To Offer
While VR users strap in and play games or experiences, they are also watching and hearing storylines, character development, and other game devices. These events and characters tell our mind that what’s happening on screen is urgent and needs to be attended to, like an attack from a ninja, or peaceful and non-threatening, like the backdrop of a sunny VR meditation.
Emotional responses and motivation to execute actions like a punch to an opponent in a boxing VR game, will differ with each person, yet what if you could experience more than an emotional reaction to trigger physical action? Teslasuit embodies this.
The Teslasuit uses 46 thermo-controlled haptic sensors located on the front and back of the suit, along the arms, shoulders, abdomen, and legs. It also comes with 14 motion capture sensors and a library chock full of programmed animations.
Together, each sensor and vibration animation syncs with a game’s real-time action and environmental weather changes and then passes the haptic sensation onto the player. The suit will make you feel cold and heat across 4 to 10 thermo-climate points that go from a cold 58 to a sweaty 104 degrees Fahrenheit (that’s 20 to 40 degrees Celsius for everyone else on the planet).
The suit will provide a spectrum of sensations to your body. Something so subtle as a brushing up against a table or another player in virtual reality can be felt, which is useful in situations where there are dark rooms and creeper zombies hiding in the shadows. Mid-range impacts like a zombie grabbing your arm make your next pivotal reaction, like a shotgun blast to the face, urgent. Action packed explosions going off in the distance or right in front of you will make you feel the warmth of a fire without getting burned.
Critique of Teslasuit
It’s got breathable fabric and looks comfortable to wear but can it withstand aerobic and dynamic movement? If a player uses it often is there a chance of ripping and wear and tear? How many hours of battery life does it have and how do you charge it?
The entire body will experience weather and impact sensations along the muscles, but the player’s hands are left out in the cold. Controllers and their triggers are helpful during combat and shooting games, but leaving haptic hand sensors out of the equation is a little incomplete.
The suit can be washed for sweat buildup or across multiple uses at VR arcades and gyms, but who would want to use a suit that was just used for 30 minutes to an hour or more by another gamer? Not me. Commercial businesses will need to get a closet full of suits so there’s no crossover sweat and more comfort and incentive for clients to keep coming back.
Compatibility and Games
Teslasuit is compatible with Unity 3D, Unreal Engine, MotionBuilder, Windows, Android, iOS, Xbox, PlayStation, and Oculus. There is no telling which other VR headsets will be compatible with it. Also, there are no existing games listed that can be used. Here’s to hoping that they start advertising games and studio partners to build up more public interest.
VR Fitness Potential
The Teslasuit has huge potential to be used in eSports, gyms, arcades and living rooms around the world. I know I complained about the lack of haptic gloves, but the value in not having them stems from being free to get down on the floor using your hands if you set the controllers down.
Gyms and fitness enthusiasts that use VR for exercise will see the benefit of this when they’re free to do burpees or push-ups in between action lulls. eSports competitions and VR arcade attractions will pack more punch, literally, and can serve as a tool to motivate gamers to bring their A-game.
Where To Get It
If you pre-order one let us know how the experience felt and how you used the Teslasuit below in the comments!