What's the point of kicking enemies in virtual reality if you can't feel it?
If 2016 was the year of virtual reality, 2017 might just be the era of VR accessories. Japanese gadget-maker Cerevo has debuted Taclim, a pair of motion controllers and shoes that provide haptic feedback in VR, vibrating in various ways as players walk across different surfaces or kick enemies in the face.
Taclim is still in the prototype stages, and Cerevo is using its debut at CES 2017 to gather feedback on the new hardware. It's clear the system is fresh: The boots are clunky, with two chunky straps across the top and foam soles that separate and slide to allow for size adjustment. It's difficult to balance on the shoes, let alone kick with any real force.
Playing an unreleased PlayStation VR game, Headbutt Factory, the boots responded about half the time as I kicked at a series of floating enemies. I walked along a pathway composed of various surfaces, including snow and wood. When I could actually feel the vibrations, they were effective in evoking the different textures.
Taclim is slated to hit the market in the fall, but don't expect to see it in your living room. Cerevo CEO Takuma Iwasa says he envisions Taclim as a product for business owners to use to advertise their products or programs. For example, the owner of an ice skating rink could create a VR experience that uses Taclim to imitate the feeling of sliding along the ice and set it up in an arcade, convention show floor or other public venue.
The full haptic feedback system will cost $1,000 to $1,500 when it comes out in the fall. The demo game, Headbutt Factory, is due to hit PlayStation VR at the end of January and will eventually be free on Taclim. Whether it actually works, though, is up to Cerevo.