WePC was lucky enough to meet the guys at bHaptics at CES last year – wow does that seem a long time ago now. This year we might not be able to catch up with old friends in person but we are still – via the magic of the internet – able to keep up with developments.
A year is a long time in the world of haptic suit for the masses development and at virtual CES 2021 bhaptics are proudly showing off the Tactsuit X series of consumer-ready hapticness!
The range includes the two models below.
TactSuit X40, the flagship device of the company’s full-body haptic solutions and a CES 2021 Innovation Awards Honoree, is a consumer-ready haptic vest that packs 40 vibrotactile motors. The X40 enhances user experience significantly by providing powerful, yet sophisticated haptic feedback in sync with content, using the 40 tactile motors that are evenly distributed throughout the haptic vest.
As a breathable, light-weight version of the TactSuit X40, TactSuit X16 packs 16 of the same motor as the X40 and weighs a little over 2lbs (950g). The TactSuit X16, priced at 299 USD, is the most affordable haptic vest by far.
According to bHaptics both TactSuit X16 and X40 feature:
- Embedded Haptics: bHaptics TactSuit is the first consumer-ready haptic suit that connects users with a virtual world via contextually meaningful tactile feedback. Thus far, more than 50 SteamVR and Oculus Quest titles, including top-selling multi-player VR FPS games, such as Onward and Pavlov, provides native support for the TactSuit X16 and X40. The company plans to continue to work with other titles in order to provide its users with optimized haptic feedback for each game.
- Cross-platform Support: bHaptics TactSuit X series features dual connectivity via Bluetooth and audio jack and can be used with not only VR but also consoles and PC. TactSuit X users can enjoy state-of-the-art haptic feedback and seamless connectivity with or without wires.
- Innovative Software Support: The company’s patent-pending Audio-to-Haptics software converts the audio output of content into haptic feedback in real-time, so users can receive audio-based haptics when listening to music, watching movies, or playing PC/console/VR games without native support. Unlike hardware conversion, the company’s audio-to-haptic is controlled by software, allowing users to customize audio-to-haptic conversion parameters, such as frequency bands and thresholds, and create their own settings for different types of content.
“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.”
Going back as far as things such as the Nintendo PowerFlove, manufacturers have dreamed of giving games that bit more oomph in the realism department. There is definitely a market for this. I retrofitted two bass shakers into a gaming chair once to give my spaceship a little extra feeling in Elite Dangerous in VR.
Are we getting closer to that time? Certainly, people who are massively into BR will be looking hard at this as an option and if bHaptics can be in pole position when VR finally manages to go mainstream, we well just may have the perfect solution to all-immersive gaming on our hands.
We will hopefully be able to get our hands on the Tactsuit in the near future and bring you a full review.