TGN Top 5 – Virtual Reality Accessories

The technology of virtual reality is a constantly changing one, with more devices and terms being thrown at us than we can shake our wallet at. Good thing TGN Partner David Brown is here with a TGN Top 5 all about the latest and greatest VR tech. Tune in and marvel at all the things you won’t be able to afford until they DROP THE DARN PRICE A LITTLE COME ON!



Feel like you missed something? Check out the transcript of the whole episode below:

By this time next year we should have a very clear idea of virtual reality’s place in history. Will it be an expensive gimmick, or a big step in the evolution in technology? We’ll have to see. But in the meantime, the goal of virtual reality in one word, and I’m sure you’re sick of hearing this word, should be immersion.

Now, while the development of virtual reality headsets is a key step towards that, it’s not the end of the line.  the techonology of the headset still needs to be perfected and even if that happened right this moment, VR headsets, only engage 2 out of our  traditional 5 senses. Now luckily many start up companies are popping up, ready to develop accessories for these headsets. So, let us take a look at some of the more interesting and promising VR accessories out there.

Number Five: The FEELREAL

FEELREAL is a multi sensory virtual reality mask designed for use with VR headsets like the Oculus Rift, and Sony Morpheus. The mask has several features that are meant to facilitate full immersion in virtual reality. It has two micro coolers and two micro heaters that blow cold and hot air depending on the game environment. It has an ionizing system that produces water mists that simulate water sprays, and a vibro-engine that can produce varying levels of vibration.

The most impressive feature of the mask, though, is the odor generator with seven unique odor cartridges that can be swapped out, depending on the game you are playing. The development of accessories to support VR headsets continues to grow, but at this point in time there are very few projects targeting immersion through our sense of smell. FEELREAL is one of those few, which is why it’s very exciting to see what they can come up with.

Number Four: The Omni and The Virtualizer

A key aspect of immersion in a space is physical movement and the ability to explore said space. The Omni was the first piece of VR accessory to bridge that gap in a way that is safe and lowers the risk of bodily harm. In the whirlwind that has been the development of virtual reality, the Omni is practically old, having been announced in 2013, but that has not reduced its relevance and it is very likely to be one piece of VR accessory that gamers will covet the most, in addition to their choice of headset.

At $700, though, the price of the Omni is a stumbling block. But with the introduction of competition, in the form of Cyberith’s Virtualizer, and as VR technology becomes a household item, we can expect to see changes on that front. Now, I’ve personally been able to test out the Omni myself at this past E3 and I must say that it was very impressive and I worked up quite the sweat.

Number Three: Glove One

One of the newest and most exciting VR accessories out there is the Glove One. This accessory is attempting to bridge the gap between touch and virtual reality. Glove One is a haptic glove device that you simply wear on your hands and, in conjunction with a motion controller like the leap motion, the glove performs the dual function of hand tracking and touch sensory interaction.

The developers have claimed that the device will allow you to feel the difference in the texture of surfaces, experience the weight of objects, and even feel the force resistance when interacting with objects – such as pulling the petals off a flower. This accessory sounds very promising, and as the making of this video, they are soliciting funding on Kickstarter. I cannot wait to see what they come up with.

Number Two: Leap Motion

With virtual reality gaming, it is much more ideal to play with motion controllers rather than gamepads, but motion controllers, like the Playstation Move, are not as immersive when interacting in an environment that calls for bare-handed action. This is where an accessory like Leap Motion comes in. The Leap Motion is a portable, hands-free, motion controller that you can simply attach to the front of your VR headset.

This type of motion controller will very likely become the standard because it bucks the trend of handheld motion controls, leaving your hands free. This allows for better immersion when performing natural tasks in virtual reality such as opening your palm to receive something, or making a fist to punch. Leap Motion also has the added advantage of being compatible with other VR accessories, such as the Glove One and the Tesla Suit.

Number One: Haptic Vests – Tesla Suit

Of course, this list would be incomplete, without a mention of haptic vests. They are essential for facilitating a full body VR experience, and they just generally look badass. The Tesla Suit, with no relation to Elon Musk’s Tesla motors, is the latest attempt in the line of haptic vests out there, but it is far superior to its peers for the fact that it is a full body suit. The suit consists of several modules including a T-belt, two bands for each arm, two bands for each leg, and a pair of T-gloves. These modules are completely wireless and compatible with smartphones, Playstation, Xbox, Oculus, and pretty much all major devices out there.

The T-gloves provide haptic feedback for interacting and touching things in virtual reality, while the rest of the modules – using mild electric pulses – simulate body sensations that range from the impact of a bullet, to something as subtle as a warm breeze on a summer’s day. The suit is also capable of motion capture. It can give you massages and, if washing technology is your thing, you would be glad to know that this suit is completely machine washable.

UK Tesla studios is aiming to bring full body touch experience to virtual reality sometime this year and, if the suit actually works, it would be a huge leap for immersion in VR. The only real downside, so far, is the modules will be sold individually of each other, with the belt possibly out for release first. This will probably have a heavy, and likely negative, impact on the pricing of the unit.

So those were just some of the many VR accessories out there, and there are always news of one popping up each and every day. Now, It is the nature of startups that more of them will fail, than succeed, and this unfortunately means that some of these accessories might not see the light of day, but It is also safe to say that VR tech is building very strongly at this point as consumer demand grows as well.. But, enough of that. Which accessory are you most optimistic about? Which combination of these are you hoping to get? Let us know in the comments section down below. My name is David Brown with TGN, and until next time, have a good one gamers!