Virtual reality is supposed to be all about immersing yourself in a digital world. Of course, back when the technology was new, there were a number of issues that took users out of the experience and reminded them that yes, they were still in their living room. For instance, they were tethered to their computers, limiting their movement. Or any interaction with the digital world could only be performed with a special controller. These days, developers are doing their best to move the tech forward. VR backpacks and standalone headsets are some of the answers to the tether problem. Meanwhile, KOR-FX has recently allowed video game players to “feel” their game with a haptic vest. Cerevo is building on KOR-FX’s product by developing the Taclim, haptic gloves and shoes that bring your hands and feet into VR. While Cerevo created the Taclim for business owners, haptic technology has some implications as to where we can take VR fitness.
Taclim and Haptic Feedbackheading
Taclim consists of a pair of controllers (Cerevo refers to them as gloves) and special shoes. Either through a series of vibrations or applying force, the shoes are able to reproduce what your feet would feel if you were actually walking on that virtual surface. If it’s grass, the shoes will give feedback that will make you feel like you’re walking on grass. Or snow. Or wood, or water, or so on. If you kick something hard like a shield, then the shoes will make sure you feel that. Which means that if one of the first games for Taclim once it receives a proper release isn’t a VR remake of Dark Messiah of Might and Magic, then I will be very disappointed.
Cerevo is debuting the product at CES 2017. There, it is obvious to see that the product is still a prototype. From the account of those who have been able to try the Taclim, the shoes are still clunky and the haptic response can be finicky. Despite the obvious use in gaming, Cerevo developed Taclim with business owners and advertising in mind. Until its release in fall, it will be interesting to see where the Taclim ends up.
Haptic Boots and VR Fitness
We have covered VR fitness games in the past where players are sparring against a virtual opponent. While making the motion is enough for the game to register a player’s hit, imagine how much elevated the experience would be for the player if they were able to feel the impact of the hit. Couple the gloves with a haptic vest and suddenly VR boxing becomes that much more immersive.
Perhaps in the future, VR boots will be able to accommodate high impact activities like running. If we reached that level, runners who like to do their running in VR won’t have to run on a constant, treadmill surface. Much like the real world, a virtual track could feature rocks, uneven slopes, or cracks in the sidewalk.
Full immersion is one of the endgames of virtual reality. It would create a more fun experience and turn VR into something new every time we plug in. While we have a long way to go, Cerevo showcases the forward thinking developers have with regards to the future of VR.