If your life wasn’t already enough like Tron, you’ll be pleased to hear that bHaptics have opened pre-orders for two new variants of their Haptic vest. Orders will start shipping in December, starting at just $300.
I know what you’re thinking. Virtual reality headsets are good and all, but wouldn’t it be nice to have an entire outfit specifically designed to immerse you in your favourite VR titles?
Well, at least that’s the problem South Korean start-up bHaptics were hoping to solve when they began to release their TactSuit series of wearable haptic devices.
The premise is simple. Here's how they explain it on their website:
Feel snake swirling around your body, shocks from gunshots and gentle hugs you share. The combination of various haptic patterns using 70 individually controllable haptic points mimics the real touch more closely than ever before imaginable.
When bHaptics launched the original Tactot earlier this year, it was clear they were chasing the developer market rather than the retail one. Although the technology was interesting and fairly effective, for the average Tom, Dick and Harry there simply weren’t enough games around natively compatible with it to justify your expensive new vest.
However, with the two variants of the TactSuit X Series, bHaptics appear to have expended their focus. The more expensive TactSuit X40 (set to launch at $499), which has more than twice the ERM motors than the other variant, seems to still be aimed at enterprise clients and developers. However, this time they’ve also released the X16, an entry-level model for only $299. That's significantly cheaper than the $500 price tag attached to the original.
Compared to their predecessor, the two new versions are much improved. For example, the firm have made a real effort to address battery life. The X40 can last 18 hours, whereas the X16 can now last 22. For reference, the original could only last 15.
Of course, between the two models there are bound to be a few trade-offs. The X16 sports 16 haptic feedback points to the X40’s (and Tactot's) 40. Whereas this won’t prevent you experiencing all the TactSuit has to offer, you’ve got to imagine that you’re foregoing a bit of accuracy and immersion.
bHaptics also still offer in-depth customisation of your jacket’s feedback, though, so you can make adjustments to that yourself.
Native support has also been addressed for the TactSuit X. Out of the gate, there are over 50 natively supported titles including Space Junkies, Onward and Thrill of the Fight. Native support for more titles, like Phasmophobia, is on the horizon, too. And if you - somehow - get finished with all those, there are always mods for a few more popular titles to force the compatibility.