Meet the new accessory that lets you actually feel virtual reality

Meet the new accessory that lets you actually feel virtual reality

The team behind a new accessory for virtual reality headsets that will create wind and synchronize it to VR events, immersing users even deeper into the VR content, came up with the idea for their gadget by happenstance.

Paige Pruitt, the cofounder and CTO of Weasel Labs, hit on the idea for what would become the company’s ZephVR product while playing the Playstation VR game “London Heist.” In it, there’s a car chase scene where you’re supposed to lean out the window of a virtual car and shoot down some bad guys.

While she was playing the game, she executed that move — while at the same moment she didn’t realize she was putting her face in front of her window fan. She was shocked at the presence of that air — and how real it made the moment feel.

“She called me right after that,” recalls company cofounder and CEO Sean Spielberg, “and was like whoa, it was so real. And from that, we started to think about how we could recreate immersive moments like this intentionally using wind.”

What they came up with are two 40-millimeter fans the users would buy and then attach to whatever VR headset the own. The fans would sit below the head-mounted display, listen for wind in audio games and trigger themselves accordingly.

A Kickstarter campaign to crowdfund the ZephVR goes live on Nov. 2 and runs for 30 days with a funding goal of $30,000. Pricing for the ZephVR will start at $49 for early backers on Kickstarter.

The company cites research for Greenlight Insights which shows that global VR revenue is expected to reach more than $74 billion in 2021, an annual growth rate of almost 80 percent. Weasel Labs, which is part of the inaugural class of the HMC INQ incubator in Santa Monica, sees their product as helping amplify and stoke interest in the space, helping people enjoy deeper experiences with the content.

There are so many instances, Spielberg says, in which the ZephVR can pick up wind in the audio track of VR content. Think of running, falling, flying. Bullets whizzing past. Extreme weather. A roller coaster drop. There are a lot of great moments in horror games in particular, Spielberg says, that add to the sense of terror you get while playing a game.

“We have a prototype design that’s ready for manufacturing, and we’re going to launch on Kickstarter,” he says. “And then from there our plan is to deliver within six months, max.

“We think that long-term the natural place for a feature like this to live in is the headsets themselves. We did file for a provisional patent, and we’ll be turning that into a full patent, so our hope is that the headset manufacturers want to license our technology and build this in a really awesome way.”

It’s also bigger than just the wind effect. Spielberg & Co. sees this as a first-step toward a world where they can help power any sort of physical effect or peripheral.

It started, of course, with Pruitt and her moment. Once the pair realized what they wanted to try, they started cobbling together quasi-prototypes. Crude implementations, like a couple of fans, duct-taped to a Playstation VR. One person would be in the game, and the other would be watching the TV to turn the fans on and off at the right moments, just experimenting.

The pair was surprised how even that helped deepen the VR experience. From there, they roped in friends for their opinion, and the positive feedback kept growing. Theirs is also a product that shows the potential for VR accessories like this, such as other products we’ve covered, like this glove that lets the wearer experience the sensation of touch in VR.

“We think — especially now, with all the new headsets released — there are so many different headsets out there competing for this market,” Spielberg said. “And they’re all going to be looking for a competitive differentiator, so we’re hoping we can be a big part of that.

“There’s definitely been a lot of hype around VR, and a lot of people out there have been disappointed that it didn’t hockey stick quite as soon as a lot of people were predicting.

But that being said, I think there’s a very promising future with VR. In a lot of different directions.”

Source: BGR

Leave a reply

About The Author

Christiana Polycarpou

Communicatios Officer

Upcoming Events

Apr
12
Thu
all-day European Borders and Encounter R... @ Vienna
European Borders and Encounter R... @ Vienna
Apr 12 – Apr 14 all-day
Conference on the occasion of the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018 in Vienna from April 12th till 14th, 2018 The conference is organized by the local organizing comitee that includes Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Schmale[...]
9:30 VIMM PROJECT: DIGITAL CULTURAL H...
VIMM PROJECT: DIGITAL CULTURAL H...
Apr 12 @ 9:30 – Apr 13 @ 17:00
VIMM PROJECT: DIGITAL CULTURAL HERITAGE EXPERTS MILESTONE MEETING IN BERLIN, GERMANY 12-13/4/2018
A two(2)-day Coordination meeting to be held in Berlin on 12 and 13 April 2018.  The meeting will be hosted by Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz, our ViMM beneficiary. The main objective of this meeting will be[...]
Apr
13
Fri
8:00 LCCHP Annual Conference @ Georgetown University Law Center
LCCHP Annual Conference @ Georgetown University Law Center
Apr 13 @ 8:00 – 18:00
LCCHP Annual Conference @ Georgetown University Law Center
The Lawyers’ Committee for Cultural Heritage Preservation is proudly co-sponsoring the event with Georgetown Art Law Association. Details about the conference are forthcoming.  Call for Submissions for LCCHP Annual Conference Each year, LCCHP strives to present legal, ethical, moral,[...]
Apr
15
Sun
all-day BRAU CONFERENCE @ Famagusta Gate
BRAU CONFERENCE @ Famagusta Gate
Apr 15 – Apr 17 all-day
Biennial of Architectural and urban restoration Find more details and the program below. POSTER BRAU Programme
Apr
18
Wed
all-day International Day on Monuments a...
International Day on Monuments a...
Apr 18 all-day
International Day on Monuments and Sites
Every year on 18 April, ICOMOS celebrates the International Day for Monuments and Sites, whose establishment was approved by the 22nd UNESCO General Conference in 1983.
all-day The annual conference of Museum... @ at the Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre
The annual conference of Museum... @ at the Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre
Apr 18 – Apr 21 all-day
The annual conference of  Museums and the web -MW 2018 @ at the Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre
About MW Conferences The MW (Museums and the Web) conferences convene annually in North America and Asia. Our meetings and proceedings feature advanced research and exemplary applications of digital practice for cultural, natural and scientific heritage.[...]
May
9
Wed
all-day Expert seminar on issues related... @ Sofia
Expert seminar on issues related... @ Sofia
May 9 – May 10 all-day
Subject: “International and interinstitutional cooperation in the prevention of crimes involving cultural property”
May
10
Thu
9:00 REACH Opening Conference in Buda... @ Hungarian National Museum
REACH Opening Conference in Buda... @ Hungarian National Museum
May 10 @ 9:00 – May 11 @ 17:30
REACH Opening Conference in Budapest @ Hungarian National Museum
DESCRIPTION The event is organised by the REACH Social Platform, under the coordination of ELTE University, Eötvös Loránd Tudomanyegyetem Conference contacts: Eszter György, [email protected]; +3630 278 27 31 Gábor Oláh, [email protected]; +3630 456 62 98[...]
May
13
Sun
all-day 5th Hyperheritage International ... @ University of Constantine 3
5th Hyperheritage International ... @ University of Constantine 3
May 13 – May 15 all-day
5th Hyperheritage International Symposium : Heritage and experience design in the digital age Find out more details here
May
18
Fri
all-day International Museum Day
International Museum Day
May 18 all-day
International Museum Day 2018 The worldwide community of museums will celebrate International Museum Day on and around 18 May 2018. The theme chosen for 2018 is “Hyperconnected museums: New approaches, new publics“. The objective of[...]
REGISTER NOW!