Game vest to simulate impacts on torso
There is an article in Technology Review about tangible interfaces for video-games by Erica Naone. It's basically about a vest (called 3rd Space) that aims at bringing more realism to the game experience by simulating impacts. It's based on pneumatic cells which produce impacts of various strength in different locations on the player's torso.
The article gives a brief overview of user experience issues:
"Force feedback devices are already popular among gamers, and Ombrellaro says that his vest promises an even more realistic experience than today's vibrating controllers. "The drama moment with this is getting shot in the back in a first-person game," he says. In market tests for the vest, he says, people would turn around in surprise when they felt the impact in the back, even though they knew intellectually to expect it. Based on feedback from its tests, the company chose a standard strength of impact, which is palpable but not bruising. "We're pushing the edge," he says. "We're still keeping it very fun but, at the same time, giving you tactile cues that are important. There's even subtly a message--that there are consequences to shooting people." Ombrellaro says that he also plans to ship vests with a more powerful compressor for a subset of gamers who want to feel stronger impacts and for use in military and police training."
Why do I blog this? video-games (as well as lots of digital environments) engage people in immersive experience but the body is often less involved (although the Wii suffers less from that issue...). In this case, even though the player cannot be hurt, the proprioceptive sense is mobilized in an interesting way.