Is This the New VR We’ve Been Waiting For?

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Virtual reality is still a relatively new technology. But let’s face it, VR gaming systems such as the Occulus Rift and the PlayStation VR set have been around long enough that they’re starting to feel kinda old hat. They’re cool, and all, but we’re really wondering when that next big thing will happen.

When do we get that full body VR like we saw in Steven Spielberg’s recent future-gaming pic Ready Player One? When am I going to be able to get in there and trade virtual punches with a robotic fighter or feel the digital wind blowing through my virtually flowing hair?

Well, it looks like that “when” might be pretty soon.

Virtual reality arcades are popping up in various locations around the world right now. And they’re designed to give the public a taste of the full-immersion VR that will soon hit our home front. Some arcades will let you hang out with ghosts in a Ghostbusters recreation, or dive into a Terminator war, or go flying with some Jurassic Park Pterosaurs, or push your way through a dense Amazon rainforest, where you feel every shiver, thump, soar and sweaty drop.

A group called The Future of Storytelling (FoST), for instance, is putting on a variety of exhibits and holding summits in New York City that showcase some of the latest advances available—such as 360-degree videos, interactive robotics and VR haptic tech. And they’re just one of several groups pushing the idea that these new innovations are the future of movies, gaming, TV, business presentations …  everything.

Now, in case you’re unfamiliar with that haptic tech—which lets you feel the virtual world around you—let me include a video of a new VR interactive outfit called the Teslasuit.

The outfit looks sorta like a rubberized diving suit and uses wireless electrodes to effect 68 different zones and sets of muscles on your body. And it’s not just some vibrating plate stitched in there. The electronic sensor points in this zip-up garb actually zap your muscles and can let you “feel” things that aren’t there, from a fan lightly blowing on your arm to a punch to the stomach. They can even make your muscles jump on their own, to the point of involuntarily kicking out your leg or smacking yourself in the face with your own hand.

Fun, right? Right?

Well, we’ll see. As the reporter in the Teslasuit video mentions, these touchy-feely advancements—along with other immersive technologies—are already being slotted for a number of more, uh, intimate media pursuits. And some of those could make this promising tech a lot harder to welcome into the family room with open, electrode-free, arms.

Who wrote this?

Bob Hoose is a senior associate editor for Plugged In, a producer/writer for Focus on the Family’s Adventures in Odyssey, a writer of plays and musicals and one-half of the former comedy/drama duo Custer & Hoose. He is a husband, father of three and a relatively new granddad.

Have something to say? Leave a comment.

charitysplace 30 days ago
The minute I read about the suit, I thought -- yeah, they'll pervert it in 2 seconds.
seraph_unsung 29 days ago
I also thought of that application, though in honesty this could theoretically have its uses if approached with care (e.g., some sort of medical simulation, or perhaps a coping mechanism/safe environment for people who have been abused).
Anonymous 30 days ago
Interesting. There is something that is both exciting and frightening about this technology. I wonder if they will be any long term side effects from the suit concerning muscle contractions or if laughing is actually a side effect. While the suit is cool, part of me hopes that someday there will be a real life VR helmet, i.e. Sword Art Online (minus the whole getting trapped in a video game part).