Virtual reality (VR) technology has seen a massive boom in the last few years. That is mainly thanks to highly improved graphics and cheaper headsets that limit the barrier to entry. However, one thing that will propel VR into the mainstream is the integration of haptic technology.
Fans of “Ready Player One” know what this looks like on an extreme scale. However, the first step is the creation of VR haptic gloves that let players feel digital objects as if they are holding them in their hands. That’s exactly what a tech startup called Teslasuit is pioneering. Its Teslasuit Glove is set to debut next month at CES 2020. It will launch sometime in the second half of 2020.
Some might already recognize the name Teslasuit. Perhaps that is because the company released a full-body haptic suit designed to help “enhance human performance” a few years ago. That suit started out on Kickstarter and was eventually scrapped on the platform before surprising everyone by showing up at CES 2018.
The startup’s newest innovation, the Teslasuit Glove, is designed with the same outcome in mind. It is geared towards medical rehabilitation and professional training. For example, it could help astronauts and emergency first responders train in high-stress situations without putting them in danger. Sadly, gaming isn’t on the list quite yet.
Teslasuit Glove uses an array of different technologies to replicate the sensory experience of touching something. The gadget also measures the motion of the user’s hands, records their pulse, and attempts to estimate things like their stress level. To enhance the immersive nature of the gloves, they can even be paired to Teslasuit’s full-body haptic suit.
Combining the two gadgets means that most of a user’s body is covered in haptic sensors that allow them to feel a VR environment. It also enables full-body motion capture, which is crucial for training in real-life scenarios with VR.
Big Spenders Only
Unfortunately, Teslasuit Glove isn’t going to be available to consumers. The startup began like many other VR companies by gearing its products towards everyday individuals in its early days. Then, it quickly pivoted to business clients.
In the world of augmented reality (AR) and VR, this trend is all-too-common. Even Microsoft’s Hololens 2 AR headset is making its debut solely for corporate customers. Though the technologies are starting to make a push towards the consumer market, making VR for business use is the most profitable strategy at this time. Unsurprisingly, startups like Teslasuit are following the money.
Speaking of the money, Teslasuit’s new Glove accessory will cost about $5,000 per pair. With that kind of price tag, it won’t be accompanying any home VR headsets anytime soon. Yet, in time, haptic technology will likely take the path of all new gadgets. It will eventually become cheaper, more condensed, and more practical for the consumer market.
When it does, VR will be changed forever. It will be more than just a cool trick or a way to watch movies at home; it will become the immersive experience it has always been envisioned to be.