Philips Force Feedback Jacket Being Tested

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Interesting news from tomshardware today. As it seems Dutch absed Philips Electronics is working on a Force Feedback jacket, allowing end-users feel their multimedia content in an entirely new way:

The jacket developed by Philips Electronic is built around a series of physical actuators to affect the user, instead of sound or motion based vibration. Sixty-four independently controlled actuators are distributed throughout the jacket, from the torso down to the arms. The sixty-four actuators are paired in arrays of four and linked via a serial bus, with each array sharing its own microprocessor.

Surprisingly, the power needs of the jacket are small. Just two AA batteries can power the jacket for one full hour, even if twenty of the actuators were triggered continuously.

Even more impressive is the actual rate in which the actuators can be triggered. Each actuator is capable of being cycled on and off at a rate of 100 times per second. While the bulk of the actuators are centered around the torso, the arms still receive sufficient stimulation with its eight actuators per sleeve. By using four actuators in the front and four in the back of each sleeve, the sensation of an arm being touched or tapped in several different spots is achieved through a phenomenon called the "cutaneous rabbit illusion."

Certainly interesting in concept, we definitely look forward to seeing this technology in action in not just movie based applications, but also in games.

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