Virtual Reality

Suit up for future of VR

Suit up for future of VR
AxonVR aims to let you "feel" VR
AxonVR aims to let you "feel" VR
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The AxonSkeleton tracks the motion of your entire body
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The AxonSkeleton tracks the motion of your entire body
The AxonSuit provides tactile and thermal feedback to the user
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The AxonSuit provides tactile and thermal feedback to the user
There's no mention of a pricetag for AxonVR
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There's no mention of a pricetag for AxonVR
AxonSuit might look like a wetsuit, but there's lots of trickery going on beneath the surface
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AxonSuit might look like a wetsuit, but there's lots of trickery going on beneath the surface
An artists impression of what AxonVR might look like when it's set up
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An artists impression of what AxonVR might look like when it's set up
AxonVR aims to let you "feel" VR
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AxonVR aims to let you "feel" VR

Current VR technology can transport your eyes and ears to virtual worlds, but it's at times had trouble with the rest of your body. That could be about to change, as AxonVR has developed a prototype virtual reality platform comprising a full body suit and exoskeleton that lets your whole body feel and interact with the virtual world.

The core of the system is the lightweight AxonSuit, made up of a jacket, pants, gloves and boots that convey tactile and even thermal feedback to different parts of your body. The inside is lined with a material containing thousands of "pixels," which can individually apply various amounts of pressure and heat to simulate different textures and temperatures.

You'll be able to feel how rough or smooth, hot or cold, a virtual object is. Or even just the environment itself: wander through a simulated desert, for example, and you might find your entire body heating up. Tactile feedback on the soles of your feet even simulate the natural feeling of walking, despite being suspended in midair by the base station.

The AxonSuit provides tactile and thermal feedback to the user
The AxonSuit provides tactile and thermal feedback to the user

The suit clips into this base station via a solid-but-lightweight exoskeleton, which senses the changing position of your entire body and individual limbs and translates this into movement in the virtual environment. The rig applies force to varying degrees to give virtual objects realistic weight and resistance when you move or lift them.

The HTC Vive let you walk around room-sized spaces and treadmills like the Virtuix Omni can approximate movement, but the depth of feedback this rig provides could be how AxonVR sets itself apart.

The rig may be a little bulky for homes, and will no doubt be expensive if and when it makes it to market, but AxonVR is initially targeting theme parks, arcades and similar entertainment venues. Beyond games and entertainment, the AxonVR could also find applications in post-injury rehabilitation, and military and athletic training.

The AxonVR team explains the technology in the following video.

Source: AxonVR

How We Create VR You Can Feel

5 comments
Racqia Dvorak
Maybe for medical rehabilitation. Right now, looks too expensive for anything consumer grade.
Bob Flint
Interesting, can the armature turn you sideways & upside down if needed? Or what about sudden drops, as if falling? Of course the pesky gravity issue still limits the full floating sensation, unless you put it in a tank, and create a neutral buoyancy, but then again water pressure, breathing , resistive motion could also be simulated by the suit, and a breather apparatus/full helmet type interface...
JosephZacker
High tech.
JosephZacker
This is truly high tech.
Grunchy
"Killobyte" by Piers Anthony (1993) described technology much like this. Apart from the schlocky pun, I remember it was a pretty good book! Incidentally, was there any other book that attempted to make a sinister play-on-words out of "kilobyte" before it evaporated from our lexicon?