As Real As It Gets (ARAIG) is a new Kickstarter project that hopes to give players a more immersive and realistic video game experience by delivering sound and feedback through a multi-sensory bodysuit.
The peripheral, spotted by Polygon, is equipped with 16 vibratory sensors across the torso, 16 on the back and another 8 on the sides and arms. These rumble as a normal controller would in the player’s hands, giving users a more accurate sensation of where they’ve been hit.
First person shooters such as Halo 4 and the upcoming Call of Duty: Ghosts seem like a perfect fit for the device, but there’s also scope for other genres to take advantage of the product. A spider crawling up the player’s back in Resident Evil, or a torrential downpour in Heavy Rain are but two examples of a more intricate execution.
ARAIG is also fitted with six speakers, dotted in a circle around the neck of the suit, for a natural surround sound experience. The idea is that unlike a traditional home theatre setup, the player should be able to move around the room and still experience a rich, organic sound.
All of this is supplemented with ’STIMS’, four large pads attached to the torso which can help contract the player’s pectorals and abdominal muscles.
“The range of sensations is really interesting because it allows developers the ability to make weapon impacts more meaningful, can give that feeling of being pulled and gives the opportunity to create sensations that have not been properly represented in games before such as the sensation of rain or a slight touch,” the Kickstarter page reads.
STIMS sounds a little dangerous at first glance, but the team behind ARAIG explained that the technology is U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved and doesn’t cause the user any pain. The team also promises that if they pass their Kickstarter goal – $900,000 by June 30 – backers will be able to choose which sensor types are beefed up in the final release.
ARAIG is an intriguing idea. As with Oculus Rift, a virtual reality headset funded to the tune of $2.4 million on Kickstarter last year, it offers a completely different hardware experience. Both are far-removed from the traditional controllers and touchscreen interfaces currently found in the industry and that’s arguably what makes them so compelling.
ARAIG feels an outfit for laser tag though, which might put off a number of users who prefer to relax on their sofa with some loose-fitting in clothes. Nevertheless, we’ll be keeping an eye on this one as it approaches its funding deadline.
It could be the breath of fresh air needed to make the first person shooter genre feel original once more. Oh, but you’ll also need to pledge at least $299 to get an ARAIG for yourself.