At this year’s South by Southwest event in the US, catching the eye is the Entrim 4D VR Headset developed by Samsung’s innovation arm C-Labs.
Being widely touted as not just the next ‘big thing’ in home electronics, but home automation as well, Samsung is dipping it toe in the VR lake with this concept, a headset with a difference allowing the user to ‘feel’ movement as well as see it.
Samsung asks: “What if VR could trick the part of the ear that regulates your balance and motion into making you feel like you are a part of the excitement?”
Using a combination of algorithms and the rather painful sounding Galvanic Vestibular Stimulation or GVS, a technique that sends specific electric messages to a nerve in the ear, the VR accessory synchronises the user’s body with changing movements in video content.
Electrical signals, like the ones used to help restore balance in stroke patients, are delivered via headphones equipped with electrodes that correspond with movement data input by engineers.
Users feel as if they are a part of the on-screen action and can also sense direction and speed of movement.
When paired with the team’s Drone FPV, which utilises data from the drone’s motion sensors, they can even feel like they are flying!
“Virtual reality shouldn’t be experienced only with the eyes,” says Steve Jung, creative leader of the project. “With Entrim 4D, we hope that people can experience VR the way it was meant to be—with their whole bodies.”
To ensure the best possible VR experience, the Entrim 4D team, made up of an eclectic mix of hardware professionals, software engineers and biomedical engineering experts, have conducted experiments on more than 1,500 people and developed 30 different movement patterns.
They are also working on a version that uses additional electrodes to create a sense of rotational motion.
The team behind Entrim 4D also hopes that the device will help fix one of the major pain points of virtual reality: motion sickness.
All very interesting, arguments are still raging about whether VR will really take off, will people really accept the hardware on their bodies to experience or control something?
Ask anyone involved heavily in the promotion of 3D viewing in the home and you might get a rather sheepish answer, people would not even wear light-weight glasses for that.
However, manufacturers argue that VR will be so powerful that hardware concerns will be overcome.
One thing is for sure, if it does take off, it will be the smart home industry that actually makes it interesting and find the functionalities people actually want to do, just like it did with the Apple Watch.
Scroll down for video, no you don’t need a headset.
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