Connected Objects Displays

Immersis provides immersive gaming without the bulky headset

editors-choiceOne huge knock against virtual reality devices like the Oculus Rift is that they require users to wear bulky headsets to experience their immersive effects. The Immersis projector provides a similar kind of immersive experience for interactive gaming and other video viewing, but doesn’t require any headsets.

The device instead projects panoramic video images onto the user’s wall, enabling multiple players or movie watchers to get the same kind of effect as a virtual reality headset. The first version of Immersis uses technology based on real-time adaptation of an image to fit the shape and size of whatever room the user is in. The device is easy to set up and use. The projection technology is compatible with all existing display technologies currently on the market, either with conventional lamps, LEDs or lasers. The image format will be at least full HD (1920×1080).

Connected to a computer, Immersis can project any kind of video content at 180 degrees. If the content is two-dimensional, the projection is flat. If the content is panoramic, 180 degrees, videogames or 3D applications, the projection will be at 180 degrees. A TV, monitor or tablet can be integrated into the projection, either to benefit from the higher resolution or for a specific interaction on one of the screens. Existing game controllers can be used with the device. Backers who pledge $1,000 as part of an early bird offer will get the system when it ships in October. Immersis is looking to raise $100,000 on Kickstarter.

The system is certainly unique and holds some promise. While its degree of immersion is likely not quite in the same ballpark as what is provided by the Oculus Rift, it may be good enough for some people. But it will likely only appeal to a very niche consumer base–namely hardcore gamers. The required configuration could further turn off some other consumers.

Video Games

Voluntarily feel the pain of simulated combat with KOR-FX

kor-fxEver since the birth of video games, it has been the fantasy of many to be fully immersed in a virtual experience, seeing every sight and feeling every event. KOR-FX is an adjustable, flexible vest that offers haptic vibrating feedback to the player in response to sound within the game. It isn’t the first time that a vibrating gaming vest has hit the market, but KOR-FX believes its precision vibration will help gamers take the next step to being inside the game. They boast that players will “feel every bullet,” but on closer consideration that sounds like a bad, painful experience. Adrenaline junkies can throw caution to the wind and pick up a KOR-FX in September 2014 for $135.

Video Games Wearables

ANTVR seeks to make gamer attention undergo an Oculus drift

The Premise. Virtual reality headsets have been on the cusp of being widespread technology for decades, but now it seems like all of the pieces are finally here and this long-promised device will be in homes across the world in a matter of months. Everyone knows about the Oculus Rift, but one company wants to make people forget that name already.

The Product. ANTVR is an all-in-one virtual reality headset designed for movies and of course, video games. The product has a number of refinements to it that make it a step above the competition, from a fully wireless model to an aspherical lens designed to reduce distortion and eye strain. Packaged with ANTVR is a gun controller that is perfect for first-person shooters, providing unparalleled control, but for those that prefer other genres, ANTVR has them covered. The gun can disassemble down to a grip designed to function as a joystick or sword, and can itself unfold into a traditional-style controller that doubles as a racing wheel.

The Pitch. The ANTVR team is excited about VR and its passion for the medium shows in the countless features that it shows off in the launch video. With so many options and styles of use in mind, there’s a lot of ground to cover and the Kickstarter campaign page has a lot of information, all of it exciting. ANTVR needs $200,000 to bring their virtual dream into reality.

The Perks. The beta ANTVR setup, complete with the transformable bag/vest, controller, headset, and all the other necessary hookups and goodies will ship out in September of this year to those that pledge $300 or more. To take things a step farther and provide more freedom of movement, the wireless ANTVR is available for $500, while developers that want ANTVR early to have a game or app ready at launch can get their equipment in July for $1,500.

The Potential. VR headsets are primed to be the next big thing in media, not just in gaming. Anyone with a device ready to go around the same time that the Oculus Rift launches stands to achieve a great deal of attention. That being said, the ANTVR system looks like a fantastic alternative to the Oculus because of its built-in compatibility, application flexibility, wireless setup, and jaw-droppingly transformable controller. As an all-in-one system with no need to get anything else, the ANTVR looks like something that will be a must buy for anyone who wants the best immersive experience right out of the box.

Input Video Games

Echo shoots to kill traditional first-person gaming controllers

The Premise. All the buzz of the Oculus Rift has made a giant wave in the gaming community. The games themselves may be growing more and more lifelike and advanced, but the controller interface remains largely the same. With VR headsets and omnidirectional headsets comes the need for a controller that is as immersive for action as those peripherals are for vision and movement.

The Product. Echo is a PC and Linux-compatible wireless controller designed for first-person shooters that offers unparalleled immersion. The housing for the control is a modified real firearm, not unlike high-quality airsoft rifles. With extra buttons and an added joystick, players can use the Echo as a stand-alone device for movement, in addition to realistic aiming, firing, and reloading. Fire modes can be changed from single shot to automatic, and reloading is accomplished by ejecting and reattaching the gun’s magazine.

The Pitch. The video pitch for the Echo is all about high drama, with an intense musical background and plenty of action in some of today’s hottest first-person shooter titles. The rest of the campaign’s coverage can be a little technically dense in terms of explaining the functionality of the device, but the passion and excitement of the Echo Solutions team in the attached videos is easy to understand upon seeing the controller in action. They company’s funding goal is $100,000 to bring the controller into production, but multiple stretch goals are available, opening the door for MacOS support, force feedback and peripheral add-ons, and eventually console support at $150,000.

The Perks. A product designed for elite gamers, the Echo controller is available starting at $400 pledges. Functionally, there are no upgrades available, but in terms of style points, backers can get a custom camouflage on their Echo for $700, and a personal engraving with weapon case for $1,000. The Echo supply drop will reach the battlefield in November.

The Potential.  Shooter fanatics have to be salivating at the look of this controller, especially with the suggestion that if this peripheral can reach production, gamers will have a choice of their favorite gun models to choose from. Devices like these are almost always a case of novelty more than competitive control, but it would make watching e-sports that much more exciting to see a team of players running on treadmill controls and using the steadiness of their own arms to pull off their professional-grade shots.