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Wild new haptic feedback VR vest looks like something out of Ready Player One

Virtual reality has made some big strides on the visual front in recent years and managed to free the headset from anchor-like cables, but there has still been something missing. A Korean company is betting that physical interaction might bridge that gap.

Ahead of CES 2021, bHaptics has introduced a range of wireless haptic vests that will provide physical feedback from VR and gaming content. Prices start at $299 and vests work with the company’s haptic sleeves, face cushions, and hand and foot devices, creating a whole-body effect for gaming enthusiasts.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

The Tactsuit X16 ($299) offers 16 different vibration points, while the Tactsuit X40 ($499) comes with 40 vibration points. The company says the vests are currently compatible with more than 50 titles on SteamVR and Oculus Quest, including Onward and Pavlov. Other games are in the works.

The vests weigh 3.3 pounds and are one-size-fits-all. They utilize a Lithium-ion battery that the company says will last up to 18 hours on a five-hour charge.

Both vests connect to systems via Bluetooth, meaning they’re not tied exclusively to VR devices. A patent-pending audio-to-haptic software device will let users “feel” feedback when listening to music, watching movies or playing a game on any platform. Users can also create their own settings for different types of content.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

A full-body haptic setup won’t come cheap, though. Beyond the vests, which ship Feb. 8, you’ll shell out $149 for a haptic face cushion with six vibration points, $249 for arm sleeves with six vibration points per arm, and another $250 each for hands and feet devices, with three vibration points per appendage.

“We are thrilled to showcase the new TactSuit X series at CES 2021 and look forward to building partnerships with content developers so that we can provide a wider range of TactSuit-compatible content to our users,” said Kiuk Gwak, CEO of bHaptics. “The TactSuit X series will become the first consumer-ready haptic display in the history of human-computer interface.”

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