5G connected VR headset coupled with full body suit promises complete virtual immersion

A virtual reality headset linked to a powerful gaming computer using 5G technology promises to vastly increase mobility options for future gamers.

UK-based company Teslasuit has been trialling prototype 5G technology in conjunction with its full body suit to create a completely immersive experience that allows users to move around a virtual world and experience sensations akin to real life.

The 5G-connected VR headset is able to take advantage of the advanced graphical capabilities and high frame rates generated by a powerful desktop computer while maintaining portability and manoeuvrability.

Current VR headsets require users to either be attached via a wire to their desktop device or use a portable version like Samsung’s Gear VR or Google Cardboard that can only provide a limited visual experience.

The prototype 5G hardware sitting underneath the VR demo which is streaming to the smaller laptop in front

Teslasuit’s Andrej Michajlowski said that the company was working towards a “round trip” latency of under 10 milliseconds between headset and computer.

“If you have a very high latency then your brain will notice it pretty quickly and you won’t be comfortable using it,” he explained.

“If you have a low latency, our brain is less likely to notice that there is something wrong. But there are other challenges to increase the user experience. For instance when you move about in VR and your physically standing still, your brain is not really comfortable about that.”

The company is combining this experience with its specially designed suit that can provide users with a range of different physical sensations.

“You've got loads of sensors around the body that pass on haptic data,” Michajlowski said, explaining the suit. “Currently our suit supports haptic feedback, it supports climate as well, like hot and cold, so if you are playing a game in a cold environment we can control that and the suit will pass on the cold sensations.”

In a prototype game (below) designed for the suit, users can feel the impact of bullets hitting them along with other sensations.

“We would like to integrate the suit with a virtual reality 5G headset so we can make the full VR experience more immersive. The suit can emulate weight, so if you're lifting an object we can make the muscles contract, biceps and triceps, so that you feel like there is a weight even though you're just holding air.

The company also hopes its technology can be used in other areas outside of gaming such as in medical areas and learning.

“Our recent research shows that learning is improved by 30 per cent when you can experience tactile feedback. For example we could record Tiger Woods making his swing with motion capture, and then when you wear the suit, and learn how to play golf, we can do corrective action so if you're holding your hands too low we can make the suit reflect that.”

He said in this case the user would feel pressure on their arm until they raise it to the right position. With enough training this action could then be replicated in real-world conditions

Teslasuit was initially backed as a Kickstarter project at the beginning of last year after which a mark one version of the suit was released. A mark two version has been in prototype form for over a year and a Kickstarter is expected to launch within the next 3-9 months.

“We have created our own library of haptic feelings, different sensations from tickling to touch, hugs and things like that,” Michajlowski said. “Hopefully this year the Kickstarter will help us gain popularity.”

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