A haptic suit (also known as a virtual reality suit, touch suit, game suit, or haptic vest) is a portable device that provides haptic feedback to the body. While vibration extends widely to large areas of the body, electrotactile haptic points provide sensation to a certain area of the body. A large number of haptic points makes it possible to cover almost the entire body. The higher the density of the dots, the more precise the sensation the user feels.
Later, Aura began shipping the Interactor Cushion, a device that works like the vest, but instead of being used, it is placed against the back of the seat and the user must lean on it. That company continues to invest heavily in VR, much to the chagrin of some, and CEO Mark Zuckerberg aims to one day get one billion people to use virtual reality (or mixed reality) headsets on a regular basis. According to Mr. Orr, the handful of electrostimulus haptic feedback suits in Australia belong to developers.
The sales figures are unclear, but they have numbers as low as 5000 for their Interactor vest sold at Toys R Us and other electronics stores. In 1994, Aura Systems launched the Interactor vest, designed by Aura's vice president of audio and video technologies, Larry Shultz, to feel the sound of video games and television programs. Most are still hidden in research laboratories, where engineers work to adjust their haptic animations to simulate anything from a warm embrace to the impact of a bullet in the chest. During a live or virtual performance, the t-shirt assigns different musical sounds to haptic sensations in different parts of the body, allowing the media to feel physically.
Full-body haptic feedback suits are just one of many haptic technologies being developed, according to Ross Smith, director of the Wearable Computer Laboratory at the University of South Australia. VirtuReal is developing virtual haptic feedback simulations aimed at training first aid personnel, such as the police or the military. According to the company, the vest uses an audio-to-haptic software device that allows users to feel feedback when listening to music, watching movies or playing a game.