Tesla Suit Gives Haptic Hugs

The Tesla Suit may provide all of us with the remotely given hugs we've been longing for. No relation with Tesla Motors, by the way.


(The Tesla Suit)

On October 14, Sarah Cox, a presenter for Watch TV, received the world’s first hug using virtual reality and tactile feedback, claimed Tesla Studios.

She was wearing a prototype model of the Tesla Suit, which creators describe as, a “smart textile” that works as a motion sensor and sensory applicator. This means that the suit can record its wearer’s temperature and movements in three-dimensional space, and deliver sensations to different parts of the body.

The virtual hug was delivered with three devices working in tandem: The Tesla Suit, an Xbox Kinect motion sensor, and an Oculus Rift headset. As the hugger raised his arms and closed them around empty space, his movements were detected by sensors and sent to Cox’s Tesla Suit. The suit picked up the sensation of being hugged and applied it to her body. She also saw the hugging man in front of her through her Oculus headset, although he was actually standing on the other side of the room.

The Tesla Studios website gives the following information:

Tesla Suit is a tactile suit for virtual reality, based on electro muscle stimulation technology, that performs a dual role as a motion capture system and tactile smart textile, incorporating thousands of nodes to stimulate sensations in the skin through tiny electric pulses.

It is completely wireless and compatible with existing virtual reality headsets such as the Oculus, Google Glass and META Space Glasses, as well as game consoles (PSP, Xbox), PCs and smartphones.

The potential applications for this technology encompass gaming, remote tactile communication, sport, medicine as well as numerous other virtual reality uses.

Tesla Suit is currently in development. It will be launched on Kickstarter within the next few months.

This seems very similar in function to the tactile net used by Frederik Pohl's Joymaker, a kind of super pda/phone that he describes in detail in his 1965 novel The Age of the Pussyfoot. The tactile net is used to present the user with a felt "virtual kiss" from a caller who left a message.

"Man Forrester, the personal callers are as follows:

...Adne Bensen: female, Universalist, Arcadian-Trimmer, twenty-three declared, five feet seven inches, experiencer-homeswoman, no business stated. Her kiss follows."

Forrester did not know what to expect but was pleasantly ready for anything.

What he got was indeed a kiss. It was disconcerting. No kissing lips were visible. There was a hint of perfumed breath, then a pressure on the lips - warm and soft, moist and sweet.

Via thefutureofsex and Tesla Studios

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