Tactile Vest Gives Gamers a 4th Dimension

How do you think violent videogame critics would react to a Tactile Gaming Vest that allows players to physically feel in-game shootings and stabbings?

The vest was created by University of Pennsylvania graduate student Saurabh Palan as part of his course work for a mechanical engineering class called Haptic Interfaces for Virtual Environments and Teleoperation.

When hooked up to a game like Half-Life 2, the player is able to feel simulated gunshots, slashing by knives and blood flow from wounds. Feedback, according to Palan’s blog, is generated in the suit by a variety of “solenoids, eccentric-mass motors, and Peltier elements controlled by custom electronics and a personal computer.”

Hits on-screen also register on the appropriate part of the player’s vest and body.

More from Palan:

When the player gets shot in the game, the program will turn on the specific solenoid based on the position of gun shot in the game and also trigger the blood flow simulation process. The gun shot can be felt almost instantly as it occurs in the game.

Originally it was planned for the vest to also feature feedback representing physical attacks, such as punches and kicks, environmental temperatures and even concussive feedback from the impact of artillery, but available time only allotted for the inclusion of gunshots, knife wounds and blood flow. Another abandoned idea was to simulate a bullet’s entry and exit points.

Palan on one new feature that might be added to the vest in the future:

We will mount an array of speakers on to vest, and offer local gun shot sound. Local speaker array will create an interesting sound space around ears, which could be more realistic than the headphone.

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  1. 0
    MrKlorox says:

    Just get a Buttkicker Gamer and route the game’s subwoofer channel through it (easiest with on PC). BC2’s subwoofer support is second to none and it works excellently for tactile feedback, especially when firing weapons and close proximity explosions. However the sound design of previous Frostbyte engine BF’s was better in some areas (you used to be able to feel tanks drive by via the sub channel).

    It’s so sad how few games try to make proper use of the sub channel. I’ve been playing games and music that way for nearly three years and am never going back. The vest however is much more niche and has limited appeal.

  2. 0
    nightwng2000 says:

    No, I mean someone mentioned it in the comments and Palan actually replied back regarding the other vests:

    "I have mentioned in the Background section about the TN Games vest. Infact we ordered a few of them and tested it before we started building ours.

    I was really inspired by their work and they being the first one’s to build something like this, have done a really good job. I especially liked the way they have got their jacket so rugged, light weighted and easy to setup. Also TN Games did a fair amount of job on the gaming side.

    TN Games vest is a pneumatic one requiring external air compressor (a rather noisy device). Also I was interested in doing some research about how we can use electronics for applications like this. We are not comparing our self to TN Games vest as they have made a product, and we are more on the research end yet trying to figure out how we can simulate various effects and studying human’s psychology when using it.

    Regarding Interactor vest: never got a chance to try this one so cannot say whats it like. But gathering the information from around web, I understand that it just vibrated and uses a sub-woofer on the back."


    NW2K Software


    Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as http://groups.myspace.com/pfenl

  3. 0
    GrimCW says:

    yes well now we have it in this comments section as well.


    tbh i don’t normally waste time on running through comments posted to most blogs/news sites/any major site (yahoo/google), let alone ones i’m unfamiliar with.


  4. 0
    nightwng2000 says:

    I don’t remember what they are called, but what I am thinking of is a group of pin-like objects connected together and they start out fluse with each other but placing them over something (some people especially like to place them over their face) and the pins move to different depths, making the group of pins shape around what they are placed over.

    Imagine placing those pins inside a vest, all throughout the vest, and being able to manipulate each one, even as a group, mimicking "touch".  They "press in" enough to be felt by the wearing individual.  And they are manipulated as what is "touching" (on screen) moves along the vest.

    Now THAT would be an advancement.


    NW2K Software


    Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as http://groups.myspace.com/pfenl

  5. 0
    Thomas McKenna says:

    They were saying that for some "wounds" they apply hot/cold the given area.  If they have hot and cold generators throughout the vest, they probably mimic trickling bloodflow by somehow moving the source of the hot/cold sensation.

    As in, they have the hot/cold combo where the "wound" is, and then have a moving hot or cold (probably will be one or the other) source.  Since there may be multiple hot/cold generators throughout the vest, then they’d turn them on/off in such incriments to make it feel like the source of the sensation is moving.  Of course, I really have no clue how they really do it, but that would be my first guess.

  6. 0
    PxDnNinja says:

    That is why, as they said in the article, it doesn’t cause pain. More of a surpise tap sensation. I would imagine it is like someone flicking you in the shoulder with their finger. If this hurts, then you probably have other problems to look into.

    I personally, as a gamer, think this could be pretty cool as a prototype, but it definitely needs some more dev time. I’m curious how they simulate bloodflow and knife slashes. I can see stabs being simulated, but a slash should need to transfer across a portion of skin.

  7. 0
    Mr.Tastix says:

    Dear god, this sounds so damn retarded.

    I am an avid game enthusiast, I love the idea of virtual reality, for example, you know what I don’t like? Pain. How many people like pain? Do these people think the majority of the world are into sadomasochism like them? Pain is supposed to tell me when I’m hurt, I don’t get any goddamn pleasure out of it.

    To be quite honest, this is just disturbing, it’s totally and utterly wrong. I want more "realistic" games but in the likes of virtual reality, the difference being is that I want a visual representation of what happens when I’m hurt, not a physical or emotional one. I do NOT want to actually experience pain, that’s just fucking stupid.

    — Randi Tastix

  8. 0
    hellfire7885 says:

    "How do you think violent videogame critics would react to a Tactile Gaming Vest that allows players to physically feel in-game shootings and stabbings?"

    Probably try to mandate it to make kids not want to play them ever.

  9. 0
    Andrew Eisen says:

    This is great!  Now children can have some conceptual understanding of the consequences of their actions.


    This is horrible!  The video game industry is training our children to become more efficient killers by desensitizing them to physical pain.


    Andrew Eisen

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