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This Company’s Full-Body Haptic Suits Could Make ‘Black Mirror’ Level Gaming a Scary Reality

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There are two recent examples of haptic suit technology in popular culture that gamers can look to for an idea of AR/VR play will look and feel like in the near future. The first is in Ready Player One, where the characters can buy the suits to feel when their avatars are dancing with a pretty girl or fighting in a battle. The second is in the Black Mirror episode “Playtest” where the main character finds himself inside of a horror survival game. Digital Trends reports that at CES 2019, a company named Teslasuit showed off a similar product that they have been developing, one we hope leans more toward the former because the latter is a terrifying world that we are not ready to live in.The electro-tactile haptic suit features 68 haptic points across the wearer’s chest, down the stomach and arms, around the back, and down each leg and calf, and the company says that more channels are planned for th tech by the time it reaches consumers. The haptic points deliver electrical stimulation to the body to mimic the feeling of real-world interaction with physical objects. “It provides the sensations, anything from stroke to hard impact,” Teslasuit CEO Dimitri Mikhalchuk told Digital Trends back in 2018, “but the hard impact we’ve specifically limited to the own wearer’s strength, not to damage any tissue or anything, to keep it safe.” The suit is also reportedly capable of simulating weight, it has built-in climate control and motion capture systems, and it can provide biometric data about the wearer so that things like heart rate and stress levels can be monitored. “This is very important for the gaming industry,” Mikhalchuk said at this year’s event, emphasizing the biometric capabilities of the tech. “We see that in the future, when we come to the end user market, that we will be able to offer a lot of data sensing for the developers to process, for the AI itself to adjust the game to the player. “We could run alternative endings, alternative scenarios because that suit would actually provide the computer with the knowledge of how the person feels in that specific environment.” Imagine living through a simulation of the film Happy Death Day and being made to experience death over and over again. Or even worse, a game based on Hostel where the point is to experience prolonged torture in a virtual abandoned warehouse. That doesn’t seem to be Teslasuit’s endgame, but the possibilities of tech rarely stops with a company’s intentions. It is really cool and we definitely want to try it out, but please don’t let this innovative product and software fall into the wrong hands.

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