The Crowdfunded Hardlight VR Suit Lets You Feel Your Virtual Experience

by Charles Singletary • March 12th, 2017

Haptic feedback is developing into an elusive achievement for the VR industry. Many different companies are attempting to harness the additional immersion haptics affords you within the VR platform, but nothing has caught on just yet. We recently reported on the EXOS glove which lets you feel your way through virtual spaces and even a rifle accessory that adds realistic recoil to VR shooters. A vest is a bit more involved of a haptics project and, over on Kickstarter, Nullspace VR wants their players to wear the Hardlight VR Suit and feel a virtual world all over.

The Hardlight VR Suit comes equipped with 16 positional haptic sensors and vibration nodes. With so many sources, the suit should be able to give accurate feedback depending on where you’re hit and even have the sensation travel across multiple nodes like if cut across the upper torso by a sword. The suit covers a lot more of the upper body than older haptic vest projects typically do, bringing feedback to shoulders, chest, arms, abdomen, and upper back. It also includes a tracking system that augments the experience a VR headset can provide by supplying limb positioning relative to the headset while measuring inertia.

Feedback vests aren’t a new development for the gaming industry. At every convention or expo for the last handful of years, you were likely to come across some company trying to recreate the sensation of being shot or the kinetic impact of a grenade exploding nearby. None of those stuck, but the market for that type of device was incredibly niche considering they’d still be used in conjunction with a fairly uninvolved gaming experience. The technology is still pretty niche now, but it is certainly less so considering it is being developed as a companion to a platform built on the immersion such a device aims to enhance.

The Hardlight VR suit has been funded with over $127,000 on a goal of $80,000 and that will likely climb during the remaining 13 days of the campaign. The projected delivery time frame for the suit is September of this year, but in general hardware-based crowdfunding projects often result in unintended delays.  We’ll have more updates on this project in the coming months.

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  • BoltmanTard

    junk.

    • Thats_news

      And they say that steam power/radio/TV/flight just will never catch on. And don’t get me started on that nonsense about nuclear power being possible, or trips to the moon.

      • Totally Magical Unicorn

        Did you just compare steam power, radio, tv, nuclear power and the moon landing to a haptic suit? Lol

  • Totally Magical Unicorn

    Developing stuff for VR is awesome, keep it up. But I can’t see anyone actually using this thing more than two or three times before it becomes a nuisance.

    • I have two subpacs I use in tandom every time I play certain games. I can certainly see myself using this. Certainly it will be somewhat niche, but so is everything in VR right now.

  • I could forsee these haptic vests getting most of their use from Theme Park type experiences – when they begin to replace laser tag with VR tag.

    • Reels Rihard

      Same here. Also, depending on how good the feedback is and what range it can simulate different types of movements and impacts, it could be great for driving simulations. Especially if they could find a way to make haptic feedback you sit on. Think about it, between a vest a seat and a good steering wheel, you could simulate what a car seat would feel like while driving at high speeds. Thus you’d be able to set up your car or a giant Mech to your preference in how each drives or moves respectively. Imagine being able to actually set up your LMP1/F1/GT/favorite street car based on how it feels going through corners based on butt all the way up to your back feedback? How about the rubbing or crashes that happen? Same goes for a mech game arcade or simulation.

      • dan bryant

        You can already have vibration feed back on driving sims with Simvibe and some buttkickers
        I have four on my racing rig and it works great with iRacing asseto corsa ect.

        • Reels Rihard

          I’m aware of the type of feedback just not well informed. This is just a question. Can you can use it to dial out unwanted characteristics of a car on a track by how it feels, or does it just feel bumpy depending on the type of racing, track/rally? Also, how close is it to say a real car?

          • Yes, you can set it up to filter for specific information (like rear suspension bumps over a certain g-force threshold). That said, it’s quite dependent on the data the simulator is providing; some provide more than others. Vibration feedback is always limited in its realism as compared to something like a full motion rig, but those aren’t really an option for room-scale VR.

  • Tony a

    how did they get passed all the patients on this haptic suit? our lawyers told us to forgetaboutit as the existing patients seems to cover nearly everything we wanted to do.. so we had to drop the concept we had in mind completely. so how did these guys get around them >???