I remember a time when I absolutely could not be content in my gaming experience until I owned a chair specifically for gaming. It had surround sound, it vibrated with the music and sound effects, it looked futuristic enough that I kind of felt like captain of my own space ship. It was the ultimate immersion. Now there’s something I need more: the Teslasuit from Tesla Studios. This full-body haptic suit is like wearing that gaming chair and more.
The Teslasuit has been designed to work with virtual reality headsets to allow you to interact with the virtual environment with more senses than just your sight. The developers say that it lets you “feel what you play”, enabling you to touch and feel objects in your virtual world.
The Teslasuit works by using neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES), which uses electrical pulses to transmit sensations to the wearer’s body. The base technology is already in use in athletic therapy and pain relieving TENS machines and Tesla have enhanced it and adapted it for use alongside VR headsets. Tesla Studio’s use of this technology not only allows for motion control but also allows wearers to feel touch, heat, cold, water, and wind. This means if you’re playing a first person shooter set in a hot climate, you’ll feel the heat, and you’ll feel it if a bullet hits you (though not with the same pain or threat to life, thankfully). Thanks to the suit’s smart materials it’s even waterproof and washable.
We had the suit at our very own virtual reality event, and it was honestly an exceptionally interesting and awesome experience so it’s exciting to see that the Tesla Studios have launched it on Kickstarter, hoping to use the funds raised to finalise the suit’s software and speed up the manufacturing and delivery process. They’re hoping to raise £250,000 and have at time of writing raised £7,649 with 29 days left on their campaign.
The Kickstarter launch and the suit in general are exciting, but there is, as you’d expect, a bit of a price sticker shock. Something like this isn’t going to come cheap, although it does come in two tiers with prices starting at £1799 for the full-body Pioneer suit, moving up to to £2099 for the more advanced Prodigy suit. The difference between these suits is essentially that the more expensive Prodigy suit offers a more powerful battery, a greater number of channels for a more extensive body sensory experience, and the climate change feature which allows the wearer to feel temperature changes. Both packages include a suit development kit which supports mobile, PC, Mac, and games consoles so that game developers can integrate the suit into their games.
If you’re less concerned about having the full body experience, you can also opt to buy the jacket and trousers separately, with the Pioneer jacket costing £799 and the trousers £749. The expected delivery date ranges from mid to late 2016 depending on which pledge you opt for.
Main Image via Kickstarter