OBE (Out of Body Experience) a project by Machina Wearable Technology
We are the last.
The last generation to be unaugmented.
The last generation to be intellectually alone.
The last generation to be limited by our bodies.
We are the first.
The first generation to be augmented.
The first generation to be intellectually together.
The first generation to be limited only by our imaginations.
- (Thoughts found on Virtual Reality — Author, Unknown.)
You’re riding a motorcycle, cruising through Brooklyn with the wind whipping through your hair. The resonating sound of the engine rattles your back. Then your tokens run out. You’ve just experienced the Sensorama Simulator, a machine from 1962 that played a 3D film along with stereo sound and fictitious wind in order to create an immersive sensory environment. Morton Heiling, the man who created the Sensorama Machine was a man who liked stimulating all five human senses, therefore this looked like a good sensorial experience. Due to his creations and knowledge, Morton Heilig was called the “Father of Virtual Reality”. He was one of the greatest visionaries of his time, a philosopher, an inventor, a filmmaker and in general a man who looked towards the future and was way ahead of his time.
At Machina, we believe in always pushing the barrier between fashion and technology. With a new product development under our belt, we are fulfilling Heiling’s dream of having truly immersive experiences.
Until today, gaming accessories were mainly focused on controllers, headphones and headsets. With the appearance of Virtual Reality (VR) headsets such as Oculus Rift, Samsung VR and Vive, the gaming industry has changed forever.
As the CEO, I am asked frequently why we shifted in certain degree the company’s perspective from music to gaming and virtual reality.
We have not changed, our vision to design and develop stunning functional products is and will remain the same. MACHINA’s vision is to provide every digital athlete the best wearable gadget for his respective discipline to help them be more interactive, unique, faster, and stronger. We’re working hard to bring this vision to our world, and this includes gamers.
The decision to start targeting a new digital market began with me meeting Korea’s Oculus Rift CEO at an event where he asked me my thoughts on the product. First of all, I was blown away, couldn’t find the words to describe my first approach to the device.
After that, I flew back home, and had to let all of my tech team know I tried the Oculus Rift for the very first time and the obvious questions where there: “How was it?”, “What did it feel like?”
After giving it some thought, I realized that yes, it’s a surreal immersive experience however, while your brain and eyes travel through a virtual world your body is left behind.
Anyone who has tried an HMD (head mounted display) can tell you that any of these devices tend to disorient users.
In 2016, the market will see hand held VR devices. Examples of these are Oculus Touch, HTC’s VIVE, XBox Controller, Leap Motion or even Razor Hidra. According to NASA virtual reality means having the effect of concrete existence without actually having concrete existence.
That is why we decided to design, create and develop OBE! This was the moment where we decided as a team that it was great timing to evolve our technology and design a product for the gaming market. Gamers require much more reality. A 2D screen is not enough anymore. These accesories which promise an immersive experience, only get you halfway; Your mind is far away in some fantasy land while your body is holding a plastic controller with twelve buttons.
OBE was designed with the objective of natural body integration into games. To make this possible we had to develop a full body feedback system: we worked on a body mesh vibration technology. It took us 14 months, 4 iterations, and an excel with 872 user’s very contradicting opinions to develop it, but thanks to this, the user gets the full experiencie: MoCap with haptic feedback. Something that to our knowledge, hasn’t been done before. We’re also very happy with the results: we’re very confident that after so much beta-testing most users feel that the translation of movements to game is natural. Barely any configuration beyond game-specific functions is necessary.
OBE is simple to use, fashionable, functional and intuitive to the final user. It aims to capture the user’s movements translating them into 3D data, creating a physical immersive experience.
We are already working on OBE’s SDK which will allow it to be programmed easily through an application to map the jacket’s sensors to your favorite game through gesture recognition (moving your arm to your hip can change your weapon to a pistol, moving it to your back can bring out the shotgun, while shooting is different guns will produce different vibrations). The SDK will allow developers to create apps based around the jacket: For example: a golf app that analyzes your swing and compares it to Tiger Woods’, vibrating when you reach your ideal backswing, or an app that guides your physical therapy with a set of exercises and corrects your movement.
A truly wearable technology platform designed for videogames (on mobile, consoles and PC). In addition, there’s a wide array of usability methods and tools there for an SDK will allow developers to create their own apps, becoming a platform for the first wave of applications. We want to become the de facto platform where all of the software (not hardware) developers will create their wearable technology clothing applications.
Today’s VR experiences are still not fully immersive. You can tell you are wearing a headset. You can feel the outside world through your skin.Because some of the VR headsets that are out there today in the market are not high quality. You know you aren’t really moving around when you are in VR. This will soon change; it won’t be long before VR is full HD, almost indistinguishable from reality.
OBE is Machina’s venture into virtual reality. We believe that people should be in control of their information,OBE’s hardware and software will be free (as in libre), allowing our users to understand what is being done with their information.
We are proud to announce we belong to Rothenberg Venuture’s River’s Fall Class 2015, program originally founded exclusively for VR startups and frontier technologies based in San Francisco, California.
These are trully exciting times!
We will be launching a Kickstarter campaign next year to take OBE to the next level before mass production. If you are interested to follow our progress or campaign launch you should follow our usual social media or OBE’s Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
About us. We have already developed different products in the wearables industry. Our most famous product was the MIDI Controller Jacket, named one of Wired Magazine’s “Most Beautiful Wearable Tech”. Besides having the know-how and understanding the challenges to execute a product in this caliber, we believe in OBE.
The future is now!
By: @LindaLFranco Co-Founder & CEO at Machina Wearable Technology