Really good virtual reality (VR) can be a highly engaging experience, with users getting sucked into the virtual world they can see and hear. But there are still obstacles to overcome before VR becomes truly immersive, one of which is feeling the digital world around that users are in. To achieve this companies are working on haptic feed-back devices, one of which is Nullspace VR, a company that’s recently announced an upcoming Kickstarter crowd-funding campaign for its Hardlight Suit.
The Hardlight Suit was initially conceived by students and members of the University of Rochester’s Robotics Club, Morgan Sinko (CEO), Lucian Copeland (COO) and Jordan Brooks (CTO), who then went on to form Nullspace VR, securing a Y Combinator Fellowship whilst moving to Seattle.
The team has spent several years researching, testing and prototyping the Hardlight Suit. The design features 16 individually controlled haptic feedback zones, allowing users to feel a wide range of interaction with virtual environments. Whether its the sharp impact of a sword, an earthquake, a punch, or the light patter of rainfall, the suit aims to make the virtual seem a lot more real.
“Presence in VR is a huge concern, obviously, so we not only wanted to introduce haptics—the sense of touch feedback—to add to the immersion, but we’ve also added tracking to the suit, so a player can actually see an avatar in-game, rather than a set of floating hands,” said Sinko in a statement. “The whole point of VR in gaming is to make the experience more immersive and interactive, and Hardlight does exactly that.”
“Over the years and iterations, we’ve been working really closely with a lot of VR game developers. We wanted to make sure that the suit was up to industry standards and that it wouldn’t be a headache for developers to incorporate into their games,” said Brooks. “Plus, those relationships and feedback have allowed us to promise full Hardlight compatibility with ten to fifteen VR titles at launch, with more constantly being added. After all, what good is a peripheral if you can’t do anything with it? To that end, we’re collaborating with as many of the most exciting and innovative VR developers as we can and have a huge slate of really great Hardlight-ready games to announce during the launch.”
Nullspace VR will be launching a Kickstarter campaign starting on 23rd February 2017, with the aim to fund the first production run of Hardlight Suits for consumers.
“We considered a lot of options, but ultimately Kickstarter was what we kept coming back to,” said Copeland. “The design, manufacturing, and logistics are all in place, so we really wanted to prioritize a medium that would allow us to interact directly with the community. Being able to hear directly from fans and users is so crucial to what we do that we couldn’t think of a better way to introduce Hardlight to the world.”
For further details on Nullspace VR and its Hardlight Suit, keep reading VRFocus.