Virtual reality takes your eyes and ears into another world. However, it isn’t quite immersive. So, by making you feel sensations such as pain, cold, and heat Tegway wishes to take you one step closer in the immersion.
The business launched its ThermoReal technology at the HTC Vive X accelerator occasion last week at San Francisco. ThermoReal developed a thermoelectric device that translate that feeling as you hold touch controllers in VR and could produce heat and cold upon need. It is a new sort of human-machine port.
Tegway produced a semiconductor device that heats up on one side when you input power into it. Once you put electricity into it the other side becomes cold. This type of technology is already utilized in wine refrigeratorsthat make cold without vibrations because there are no moving parts (that is what you want to preserve the wine better).
The apparatus can become hotter based on the degree of the electric current. I put on a VR headset and held the ThermoReal controller. As something flaming touched, I felt heat. And when something cold touched, I felt the coldness. It was an electrifying experience.
It may be a while before this can be constructed into a VR device. But it is an interesting milestone on the road to full immersion. Applications which use the technology could draw you through over visuals and sound to an experience.
I’ve tried several different thermal haptic devices throughout the course of my VR reporting, but nothing that actually impressed me. Normally the effects are hard to notice because they do not feel particularly cold or hot, and they take to activate that it’s difficult to market the illusion which the effect has been caused by something happening in the digital universe.
I got to try the ThermoReal thermoelectric skin at the demo day in San Francisco another week and it has led me to become a believer in the value of thermal haptics for the first time.
Tegway has filed several patent applications in the areas of fabricating flexible thermoelectric device technologies, hardware design and software, and software algorithms for thermal realism.