German Prototype Lets You Physically Feel In Virtual Reality

Written by Neil Soutter on Sat, Nov 14, 2015 10:00 AM

Now this is something that was bound to happen eventually, but researchers at the Human-Computer Interaction lab in Germany have designed the technology to allow you to feel in VR. Going by the name Impacto, and still very much in the prototype stage, it’s a band you can wear around your arm, leg or foot that can simulate contact or use electrical stimulation to mimic impact.

There’s two separate technologies at work in the Impact. There’s a haptic vibration engine like that used in the Steam Controller which can tab or prod you, and there’s the electrical stimulation which can cause you to move entire limbs. Minor electrical impulses are sent into your skin which can throw your arm backwards and simulate you being hit or pushed in-game.

"The key idea that allows the small and light Impacto device to simulate a strong hit is that it decomposes the stimulus: it renders the tactile aspect of being hit by tapping the skin using a solenoid; it adds impact to the hit by thrusting the user's arm backwards using electrical muscle stimulation," said team lead Pedro Lopes.

"The device is self-contained, wireless, and small enough for wearable use, thus leaves the user unencumbered and able to walk around freely in a virtual environment. The device is of generic shape, allowing it to also be worn on legs, so as to enhance the experience of kicking, or merged into props, such as a baseball bat."

It’s easy to see the potential of tech like this for totally immersive gaming. Genuine feedback means you could actually feel as if you’re taking a penalty kick or an impact where you’ve been shot. Provide it’s not too realistic of course, I don’t want to find myself in the back of an ambulance.

There’s plenty that’s not so great about gear like this as well though, and I don’t imagine many people will be too keen to subject themselves to hours of small electric shocks.

Would you be keen to get something like Impact used in VR? Or is this a step too far for immersion?

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23:25 Nov-15-2015

Ok too much fallout.... Anyone else think that thing on his hand looks like a powerfist? lol

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18:22 Nov-15-2015

the matrix style, when you die in VR, you die in real life :D

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10:21 Nov-15-2015

is it me alone who is waiting for something like the device which was in sword art online?

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11:15 Nov-15-2015

naa

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10:05 Nov-15-2015

...let's me... physically feel in virtual reality? ...guys anybody knows a good girlfriend simulator, I just need it for the info.

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07:59 Nov-15-2015

Looks like prototype Iron Man armour

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05:48 Nov-15-2015

I think this VR will be used for people's who have some physical or psychological problems even. This VR is so sad if it looks like this. #foreveralone with VR.

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04:39 Nov-15-2015

Speaking of VR; there is a new VR product called the Tesseract. It is made by Absentia studios. Unlike the Oculus Rift, the Tesseract uses VR on a global scale, allowing users to watch 3D movies, play ANY video game and even browse the desktop of your OS in VR. During IGX Mumbai 2015, this was featured :D

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23:18 Nov-14-2015

Imagine having this,playing BF4 and then someone kills you with repair torch :D

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12:02 Nov-15-2015

Or defibrilator...the most realistic death ever haha

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21:48 Nov-15-2015

Soo many funny ways to die there :D
Nice username btw,because Balkan people will know hehe ;)

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21:18 Nov-14-2015

All i can say about this is just... wow.

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19:09 Nov-14-2015

you guise heard of swordart online ? well this is like 2 or 3 steps befor that

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19:10 Nov-14-2015

cant wait for it

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17:16 Nov-14-2015

Oh...my dirty mind is going dirty places....

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17:28 Nov-14-2015

In time tech will probably go there lol.

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15:41 Nov-14-2015

Now let's play 1000 ways to die.

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15:04 Nov-14-2015

I think adding to immersion is always good... as long as it doesn't hurt/kill you! :)

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14:10 Nov-14-2015

how will you feel if u take a knife in your D will hurt really hurt

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15:03 Nov-14-2015

I'm pretty sure you won't have to put the bands on your D

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15:14 Nov-15-2015

k mayte

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13:56 Nov-14-2015

What about the pain when a bullet hits my head in VR?

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15:52 Nov-14-2015

then you will have a semi-decent idea of how it feels like, unlike IRL, where people just drop dead :D

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12:57 Nov-14-2015

If this works the way i think it does....soon players of fifa will become a scouting ground for clubs to look for new players

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12:27 Nov-14-2015

In the final version for consumers, won't it be just like a controller vibration all over your hands?

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12:08 Nov-14-2015

This is amazing stuff. Hopefully this stuff will be in our hands soon :D

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11:57 Nov-14-2015

imagine the possibilities ( lenny face)

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11:50 Nov-14-2015

[droll] Imagine feeling gun recoil like those arcades gun machines and fell of shots in your body!
http://static.giantbomb.com/uploads/original/10/106898/2491804-arcade-game-machine-gun-blade-ny-sd.jpg

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11:52 Nov-14-2015

Wait... DeathClaw! forget it I don't want it anymore.

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23:24 Nov-15-2015

Especially with 4's Deathclaws and their new throw and power attacks x_X

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