If based on the number of projects on Kickstarter alone, VR accessories will evidently be a huge market in the very near future as VR continues to surge forward as a breakthrough technology. The “HardLight” suit is a haptic suit concept that’s heading to Kickstarter very soon.
Why single this out from the many VR-related kickstarter projects? Well, it might be because it comes with what looks like six-pack abs. Then again, the promise of 16 haptic pads spread around the suit that can react to input from within a 3D game world might be a better reason.
NullSpace VR, the company behind the HardLight suit, says that their software API enables any developer to add HardLight suit support to their applications and get accurate, reactive force feedback. NullSpace has provided a video of their first outing with a prototype HardLight suit, also showing off the reactions of users as they were pummeled (gently, I would hope) by the suit as they played through the demo.
The HardLight suit also features positional tracking for orienting the user’s body in virtual space, which should conceivably work well with the Vive’s tracked controllers and headset, although I can’t help but wonder if using HTC’s Tracker might be a better (or at least more integrated) solution.
A little blurb in NullSpace’s website claims the suit can be used in “audio mode”, which I assume is similar to using a thumper or subwoofer to vibrate in concert with the action in the virtual screen – but even without this feature, the HardLight suit is already compatible with a reasonable number of games – 11 in fact, based on the website.
Let’s hope this VR accessory reaches production and gain a bigger set of software titles.