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I Got Shot in a Haptic Vest, and I Walked Away Happy

LOS ANGELES—In the book/movie Ready Player One (more so, the book), much of what adds to the main character’s immersion in the virtual world he plays in comes from haptics. While the VR visor is the main component, at least in the book, great detail is given to the haptic suit that the character wears, which allows him to feel actual physical input translated from the digital world. This can be the caress of a romantic partner, or a shot to the gut from an enemy combatant, but the aim remains the same: Take the unreal, and make it real.

While both computationally and practically we’re still a long way off from entering massive virtual worlds like the Oasis, the days of feeling what you’re seeing in-game are already here. This week at E3, I had the opportunity to try out two different haptic suits that aim to bring the game into your body. One is from BHaptics, the other is from a company called Woojer.

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