Video game technology continues to find ways to make things more interactive with the recent releases of VR headsets such as the Oculus Rift and Sony’s Project Morpheus. Still, even with those immersive improvements players aren’t getting a full sense of their virtual environments.

For example, playing a first-person shooter without the actual fear of feeling a bullet slam into your chest can never quite compare to a realistic experience. And even the richest game-world textures can’t match the real thing if you can’t touch them with your own two hands.

UK development team Tesla Studios (no connection to the cars) is aiming to fill those gaps between reality and virtual reality with the Tesla Suit; a full-body haptic feedback device allowing you to touch game environments and characters and let them touch you all over your body.

The main component of the Tesla Suit is the T-Belt which acts as the suit’s control unit. The belt is completely wireless and is intended to connect with all major brands of game consoles, VR headsets, and smartphones as well as PCs.

The belt also analyses your muscles in real-time, takes your temperature, gives massages, contains a motion capture system, corrects your posture, performs other data transmission, and – last but not least – it’s machine washable!

The next key piece in the Tesla suit is the T-Glove which provides haptic feedback and motion sensing much like the T-Belt. With these gloves you can touch things in the game which will transmit the sensation to your hand. The T-Glove is instrumental in providing tactile interaction between players.

For example, let’s say we were playing Call of Duty and I suddenly decided to stop with all the bloodshed and have us settle our differences with a tickle fight. My T-Gloves would be able to actually feel your ribcage with my fingertips so I could administer tickles with deadly precision. Meanwhile, your T-Belt would receive my tickle attack data and transmit it directly to your midsection, all in real-time.

▼ Oh generic Tomb Raider facsimile…I’mna give you such a pinch!

In addition to the T-Belt and T-Glove, the Tesla Suit is made up of several bands for the arms and legs. Spaces in between will be filled by a smart textile which contains a motion capture system and thousands of small points that deliver a wide range of pressures from a gentle breeze to a swift kick, along with temperature sensations.

The individual components all operate together wirelessly with each other and external devices using Bluetooth 4 LE. The belt runs on an ARM Cortex micro-controller.

Tesla Studios say that the first modules will hit the market around the middle of this year. Each piece of the Tesla Suit from the belt to the smart textile vest is considered an independent module apparently sold separately. However, they don’t say which (if not all) of those modules will be out first. The preorder section on their website is not open…yet.

There’s also no word on what kind of price tag this setup will come with, but for those looking for a true escape from reality it looks worth it. Imagine feeling the heat exhaust of an RPG hit your forehead as you launch, or the feeling of a chocobo’s back between your fingers as you saddle up for adventure.

The best would be if you were playing the new Silent Hill game and you suddenly feel something brush against your back in a dark hallway. Oh, wait. Forget that last one

Source: Tesla Suit (English) via Game*Spark, Hachima Kiko (Japanese)
Video: YouTube – Tesla Studios DevTeam