Virtual Reality (VR) is no longer science fiction; it’s a reality and continually evolving. VR can now be seen everywhere from the automotive industry to the healthcare industry, but the gaming industry is taking virtual reality to the next level.
Research and innovation are being made to improve the virtual reality gaming experience. Companies are working on different types of accessories such as VR skins and a VR treadmill to involve the sense of touch and locomotion in virtual reality.
Virtual Reality Skin
Imagine you’re in a virtual world, and you can actually feel the things? Well, researchers are working on integrating a sense of touch with VR.
Remember the scene in the movie “Ready Player One” when Wade Watts purchases the x1 haptic suit to interact in the world of Oasis? Well, the movie may be considered science fiction, but it is becoming a reality with VR skin.
00:14 haptic technology is becoming a reality, and the new VR synthetic skin will change gaming forever. VR headsets have allowed us to explore the virtual worlds, but the key to an enhanced experience is taking advantage of all five senses. Sight, hearing, and taste are a long way away, but the sense of touch can take VR to the next level.
01:01 Haptic technology allows players to feel everything in the world with the help of vibrations, but the technology has been unreliable.
01:15 VR synthetic skin is lightweight, thin, and an alternate to the haptic technology. Researchers at Northwestern University have developed a delicate VR skin, which is named “Epidermal VR.”
Highlights of Epidermal VR
01:27 Here are some of the highlights of Epidermal VR:
- Relies on near field communication tech.
- No straps or tapes are required needed for connection to the user.
01:37 initial test kits include a small patch of skin, graphical interface that delivers real-time results when connected to human skin.
How Epidermal VR Works?
As discussed above, the initial test kits come with a small skin patch, graphical interface that delivers real-time results when connected to the human skin. Here’s how the epidermal VR works:
01:45 there are small sensors, which will go all over your skin, and don’t worry, you won’t feel vibrations and absorb random shocks in the game. Every sensor is independent; each sensor works on its target with different intensity levels. You will feel the touch where it should be felt.
02:07 Epidermal technology is still in the early stages of development, but it will advance in the coming years. Northwestern University plans to add thermal heating and weather element. Imagine playing Minecraft picking lava and feeling the heat or feeling the sunshine in GTA 5? Awesome, right?! All this would be possible with the VR skin.
02:39 the launch of next-generation gaming consoles such as Xbox series X and PS5 offers powerful graphics that would make synthetic skin reality.
02:51, there are different obstacles to including the suit; the first thing is gaming consoles that support VR skin. The problem is solved by Xbox series X, which already has kinetic software to support the suit features, and PS V has VR headsets.
03:21 price is another big factor in making a haptic suit or VR skin a reality. PS V VR headset was retailed at $400, and when the suit comes into the market, it will cost $600 or above, which is not a low price. The release is nowhere near, and we’re at least 2-years away from any release related to consoles.
03:38 creating a standalone system for the haptic suit would be difficult, and people won’t purchase separate systems for haptic suits. The best solution would be to connect the suit to the consoles which people already have in their homes.
04:10 We have seen different prototypes of VR tech, but they didn’t make it to the mainstream. Companies like Nintendo and Disney made lots of accessories such as Nintendo’s power glove, virtual boy, and Disney’s force jacket. These products didn’t make it to the mainstream, but VR skin will make sense.
Virtual Reality Treadmill
Different companies are working on different VR accessories to take the experience to whole new level, as discussed above. Accessories such as VR glasses, haptic suits, and glove simulators enhance the virtual world’s experience.
00:21 Kat VR, a Chinese company, is working on bringing omnidirectional treadmills to the consumers. Catwalk C is the new prototype made by Kat VR and looks like something out of the movie “Ready Player One.” You can step into the world of virtual reality from your home.
How Catwalk C Works?
01:21 Catwalk C is omnidirectional that simulates the virtual world’s natural movements, meaning you can walk, run, lean, jump, go backward, and crouch. It gives you the freedom to move 360-degrees, and you play games such as Alex ball, The Dead Walking, and Sinners VR Chet onward, and Pavlov, etc. are compatible. All games which support locomotion are compatible with Catwalk C.
Features of Catwalk C VR Treadmill
01:55 narrator starts talking about the features of the catwalk C VR treadmill. Here are some of the features described in the video:
- It is portable.
- One of the most lightweight treadmill.
- Easy to install.
- It works with almost all the VR headsets available in the market, including PS VR, valve index, rift 5, PI max, windows mixed reality, and oculus quest.
The complete specifications of the catwalk C treadmill are mentioned at 02:22.
Catwalk C Treadmill Review
02:28 before you get into the treadmill, you need to wear few accessories to get the experience. Here the video host reviews Catwalk C.
02:34 you have to wear special shoes that will help you with the friction you’ll get on the treadmill. You can walk faster and have a dynamic and intense experience with any game that you play.
Belts and Straps
03:01, the reviewer gets on the treadmill and wears belts and straps. These straps are elastic, and they can fit any body type; it doesn’t matter if you’re thin or fat. These straps will fit you perfectly. Moreover, they have a double safety system.
03:19 Now, the next thing you need is a VR headset and VR controllers, which are placed on the backside of the treadmill. You can reach behind your back and find the headset and controllers on a small hanger, making it convenient.
04:55 narrator talks about the overall experience of the catwalk C treadmill. According to him, the overall experience was positive but still not perfect. There are a lot of improvements that need to be made.
05:38 narrator talks about movements on the VR treadmill. According to him, when you first try catwalk C, your movements won’t be natural. You’ll take some time to understand the movements because it is extremely slippery.
07:10 the surface of the VR treadmill is large enough that you can play all types of games, and it is small enough to put in your living room or bedroom. The treadmill accurately predicts the difference between walking, running, and crouching, and it doesn’t give you any feeling of discomfort.
07:40 talking about calibration host reviewer says that calibration of Catwalk C wasn’t on point. As a result, the personal movement speed was not matching with the acceleration. You can move safely and easily switch the movements from walking to crouching.
10:30 reviewer talks about the cat VR software. According to the reviewer, a few features make cat VR unique compared to other VR treadmill software. Cat gateway is stable, user-friendly, and gives you tons of options to change treadmill settings. Default software will pick up the game and make it compatible with Catwalk C.
The Bottom Line
Many companies are working on building new accessories to enhance the virtual world experience. Although we won’t see these devices in the coming months, these devices will be available for gamers in a few years.