At CES 2023, Laptop Mag Content Editor Jason England tried out the VR haptic suit from OWO.
The VR haptic suit aims to make VR gaming more immersive through sensation technology. This technology allows users to feel a range of sensations, from gentle gusts of wind to intense stabs in the abdomen.
VR Haptic Suit
However, after TechRadar’s Lance Ulanoff tweeted that it was the “most painful thing” he’s ever done at CES, Assistant Managing Editor Sean Riley and another employee decided not to try it out. Despite the mixed reviews, the VR haptic suit has caused quite a stir at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
- An OWO representative took Jason England’s measurements to make sure his VR haptic suit fit snugly.
- The suit is available in a range of sizes from 2XS to 4XL.
- Another employee spotted several suits hanging on a rack and unzipped one.
- Inside, there were several noticeable patches that were likely intended to inflict pain or enhance immersion depending on the game being played.
- According to OWO’s official website, these patches can provide up to 30 different sensations, including simulated gunshot wounds, insect bites, stabbing, darts, punches, and more.
Two different designs of the VR haptic suit were on display at OWO’s booth at CES 2023: a Founder Limited Edition with a purple and blue ombre effect and a standard black version.
What sets OWO apart from other VR haptic suit companies is its Sensations Technology, which stimulates 10 locations on the body, including the arms.
An OWO representative told the employees that unlike other haptic technologies that use vibration to produce just one sensation, OWO is the only company that can produce an infinite number of sensations.
The company claims that its microsensations are the key to this capability, as many of the 30 available stimulations are composed of several microsensations. For instance, simulating a gunshot wound uses three microsensations: an entry wound, an exit wound, and bleeding.
OWO stated that with its algorithm, it can create an infinite number of different sensations by modifying the parameters of the wave.
Using the OWO app, users can adjust the intensity to their preference.
Virtual Reality Experience
An OWO representative equipped Jason England with an Oculus Quest 2 headset (now called Meta Quest 2) and a VR haptic suit, allowing him to enter a virtual reality world that was too realistic for his liking. A large display showed what Jason was seeing.
First, he participated in a demo that allowed him to feel a variety of strange sensations, including wind gusts, crawling spiders, darts, and stabbing.
Then, he was placed in a hostile celestial virtual environment where he had to defend himself against fierce planetary enemies. These robotic aliens proved to be relentless and were not shy about showering Jason in gunfire.
As OWO promised, Jason reported feeling the gunshots go through his shoulder and exit from the other side. Interestingly, the sensation of bugs crawling all over his body was more bothersome to Jason than the simulated gunshot wound.
Response to VR Haptic Suit
After the experience was over, the employees asked Jason England if he enjoyed OWO’s VR haptic suit. He replied that he actually loved it, stating that the sensations really increased the immersion of the gameplay.
He recommended the suit to others, despite having heard that it could be painful beforehand.
Other attendees at CES 2023 also tested the VR haptic suit, some of whom set the intensity level to 10 and grimaced in pain. One tester, Merrick Greene of the YouTube channel VRLink, yelled in surprise when he felt a simulated gunshot wound to the shoulder.
Jason, on the other hand, seemed relatively unfazed, though it is worth noting that his intensity levels were set between six and seven.
OWO’s VR haptic suit, known as OWO Skin, is available for pre-order on its official website for approximately $425. Currently, only a short-sleeve suit is available, but an OWO representative informed the employees that a long-sleeve version is planned for release in the near future.
The OWO app is compatible with Android, iOS, and Windows devices.
Battery Life and Connection
The suit has a battery life of about eight hours and includes a USB-C cable in the pocket area that can be connected to a battery pack (which is included with the VR haptic suit).
Connection to VR Games
When asked how OWO Skin syncs with VR games, an OWO representative replied that it uses Bluetooth.
Future of Haptic Gaming
The employee who tried the suit believes that haptic gaming systems like OWO Skin will eventually become a standard in VR gaming and help to further blend the lines between reality and virtual worlds.