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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