The future of VR goes beyond sight and sound. Virtual reality is a gateway to powerful experiences.

Strap on a pair of VR goggles, look around, and the scene you see will adjust, in real time, to match your gaze. But the technology is a visual one.

Virtual reality doesn’t include touch, although there are controllers that provide “hand presence,” allowing you to manipulate objects in the virtual world, or shoot a simulated gun. So while VR today could simulate a Westworld-like setting, you’re not going to be actually feeling the hug of a cowboy-robot on your body while using any of the major platforms—at least not for a while.

The Force Jacket, a garment from Disney Research, aims to address that gap. Made out of a converted life jacket, the prototype uses embedded airbags that inflate, deflate, or even vibrate to literally give its wearer a feeling of being touched.

When coupled with VR software, the setup can simulate something bizarre—a snake slithering on you—or more pedestrian: getting hit by a snowball. In brief, the sensation of touch you feel on your actual body can match what you see in a virtual one. Read more from popsci.com…

thumbnail courtesy of popsci.com