Sometimes I don’t think games are immersive enough. I’ll pull some ridiculous maneuver in Dirt 3, and all I get is a little controller shake. Pffh. Apparently I’m not the only one who thinks this, because, according to New Scientist, the engineers at Disney Research in Pittsburgh are working a “Tactile Brush” that can mimic motion across your back.
The tactile brush uses a series of twelve vibrating coils that are embedded into the back of a chair. The coils rely on a sensory illusion in which a human body that feels multiple sensations in quick succession treats it as one motion.
With the trick in mind, the software is programmed to reproduce sensations; for example, when cornering in a racing game, the coils in the chair would make vibrations sweep across your back. Alternately, rain could be simulated by activating the coils in a vertical fashion.
Currently, high-end gaming chairs have built in speakers and force feedback generators, but they can only change the intensity of the vibration, there are also vibration vests that are really meant to simulate the pain of being shot.
Disney is also looking to make wearable device with vibrators in the sleeves and around the torso. They hope the device can make their amusement parks more immersive, such as feeling prehistoric insects crawl on you as you touch an animatronic Triceratops, or (my theory) make the Alien drool pour down your back and onto your arms.