Next time your character gets shot while playing Call of Duty it could hurt for real. A tactile gaming vest created at the University of Pennsylvania can make wearers feel a punch or a gunfire hit in sync with what’s happening on screen.
“The idea is to develop a haptic interface for first person shooting games,” says Saurabh Palan, a graduate student at the university who is working on the project, on his website. “The feeling of bullet hit, body impact and vibration or a shoulder tap will enhance the gaming experience and fun.”
It’s not all play with the vest. It can be modified for real time simulation and training by the military, says Palan.
The vest uses four solenoid actuators in the chest and shoulders in front, and two solenoids in the back, explains IEEE Spectrum. Vibrating motors clustered against the shoulder blades simulate a reaction similar to getting stabbed. All the components are controlled and linked to the game such that the appropriate solenoid “fires” depending on where the character in the video game is getting hit.
IEEE Spectrum says the entire experience is “closer to a paintball excursion, but it doesn’t hurt as much.” Still the gaming vest sounds pretty masochistic to me. But for those who crave greater realism in their video games, this could be a good way to feel the pain without the bruises.