In collaboration with MIT Media Lab and Carnegie Mellon University, Disney Research has revealed the new conceptual haptic Force Jacket that can stimulate physical experience. It aims to find a purpose for VR headsets.
The jacket, rather the apparel device or just another wearable, is lined with airbags that are controlled by a computer for inflating and deflating. As per the vision of Disney, the jacket will make the VR experience more immersive for the users, thanks to abilities like simulating hugs and being punched or hit. You may even find your body being slithered across by a snake!
The airbags have sensors mounted for directing force and vibrations to specific areas of the body of the user. The weight of the Disney Force jacket is about five pounds, and its valve system has 26 air compartments for deflating and inflating. These compartments are located on the jacket’s front, back, arms, and sides.
Furthermore, there are adjustable sleeves and repurposed life vest-bearing airbags. A haptic effects software editor is used for controlling the speed, force, and duration of inflation and deflation.
Researchers in their paper wrote: “At this stage of work, the goal is to develop core technology for the Force Jacket that will be sufficient for basic psychophysical assessment and to design and test an initial set of effects.”
The effects so far include a hand tap on the shoulder, a racing heartbeat, a snowball hit on the chest, light or heavy rain, a bug crawling up the arm, slime dripping on the back, and motorcycle vibrations. Refining parameters like pace adjustment of the bug’s movements and so on are as well there.
The researchers have built three VR apps for testing the jacket. These are a snowball fight game, simulations of snake crawling and growing muscles. They also added that the surrounding body effects achievable by the jacket could offer a 360-degree virtual reality experience. A warning from them: “the user’s ability to rotate or move in the VR space is limited by the tubing that tethers them to the air and vacuum supply.”
They hinted that further development of the jacket is on the way so that it can be more suited to VR usage. Tell us what you think of the seemingly cool tech apparel. Stay tuned to know more about Disney Force Jacket.