The problem with VR today is that it’s just not real enough. You can’t feel what your touching in a game or know when you’ve been hit in a battle. While we’re still light years away from a true holodeck like experience, Hardlight VR has just started pre-orders of what it calls the Hardlight Suit. It looks like a bulletproof vest-style garment that integrates not only feedback as you move, but also tracking of your torso and limbs.
The new suit works with most VR systems and standard PC games. To use it you simply plug it in and start gaming. Some games are already pre-programmed to respond to the suit and others simply add a small layer of realism to your VR adventures. There are chest and arm motors and the system can fit almost any body type.
Combined with room-scale VR and motion trackers in your hands, it allows your entire body to be present in-game. Get hit with a sword in a game, and the suit can vibrate – just like your smartphone or console controller – to let you know where. The reason it looks so cumbersome is that the suit houses 16 different zones to track and deliver haptic feedback – there are eight on your chest and stomach, one on each shoulder, and one each on upper and lower arms.
It comes in a “one-size-fits-most” single design, with a bunch of straps for adjustment. It uses a 9V power supply and USB2/3 for connectivity. While it doesn’t mention it on the product page, we assume it’s corded. So that’s one more cable to trip over while gaming.
The Hardlight VR suit has already been funded on KickStarter with over $147,574 on a goal of $80,000 and is now available for $49 to pre-order. There are a number of games already designed for the platform and the suit will start shipping in September 2017.