Hydro-haptics, potential for location based VR haptic rigs.
Ideas for haptics and how professional VR players will compete.
Have you ever seen a jumping water fountain? Where the short streams of water arc up and down like jumping beans. Controlled spurts push water in conformed shapes timed with precision for visual effect.
What if similar technology was built into the walls around a room-scale VR space(with waterproof hardware of course)? Imagine a multiplayer scenario with physics based projectiles flying past. When a projectile is calculated to fly near a player a water jet would release a short controlled stream of liquid representing the digital projectile.
Did you barely dodge that laser in-game? You might feel the water brush on your back. Direct hit to the chest? Looks like you just got attacked by a 10 year old with a Super Soaker. Stand next to an explosion? Feels like you just jumped through a small waterfall.
Hydro-haptics could be the perfect addition to your city’s water park. A hydro-haptics system would be on point and on brand for any water based entertainment venue. According to SpringboardVR’s recent white paper, location based VR installations are finding success when installed in existing entertainment venues.
The rise of Location Based VR(LBVR)
With the rise of LBVR comes the image of haptics rigs too expensive for your home but well worth the per minute pricing of your local VR arcade. Haptics are getting better, but it could be some time before they are cost effective for the masses.
The potential for haptics is as large as the potential for VR experiences: infinite. The winners of the haptics game will produce the most comprehensive haptics rig. Something full body that simulates a plethora of physical sensations. Pressure, temperature, physical resistance, etc.
The creation of a comprehensive haptics system that is adaptable to as many VR experiences as possible is a tough challenge to solve. HaptX has their eyes on it, starting with gloves. In the meantime, we might see more specific haptics systems created for location based experiences.
Professional VR players will be more apt to play from a local VR Arcade than their basement.
In a VR game like RecRoom’s Paintball, paint projectiles fly through the air and splatter on their targets. Where real world paintballs must contain the paint within a plastic shell, virtual paintballs don’t have to be balls at all but instead act as streams of paint. A well timed jet of water could match well with the visual steam of paint.
As a competitive VR player, the idea of feeling a projectile careen past leaving a small (wet) mark sounds as immersive as it does awesome. And don’t get me started on a virtual reality Legend of Korra style Pro-bending tournament.
With the rise of competitive VR we might see haptics systems built for the most funded titles. A competitive player looking for an edge might spend their time at the local VR Arcade just for a haptics rig, and enthusiasts might spring thousands of dollars for game-specific rigs in their homes.
Hydro-haptics may have to stick to your local water park though…
VR Haptics for room-scale floors
Feeling where you’re standing in VR will give a competitive edge.
I’ve written about a potential pneumatic floor to aid VR players in “feeling” their location in room-scale space without the need to strap on extra equipment to their body. Non-invasive haptics systems could prove popular for location based VR experiences if for no other reason than ease of customer throughput.