Is This Crazy Exoskeleton Really As Real As It Gets?

By Jim Rossignol on June 3rd, 2013 at 7:00 pm.


As Real As It Gets is a Kickstarter to create “a new immersive wearable technology, a suit.” Yes, it’s a force feedback exoskeleton, but with extra layers of body-stimulating tech that move us into a sort of Living In The Future moment. It’s not the first time something like this has been tried (I died of embarrassment at GDC a few years ago when I tried on a feedback hat and vest that poked me in the forehead each time I was shot) but it does look like the first time it has been tried with this much finesse, or this much terrifying technology: “STIMS can create everything from a tingling sensation as if something is crawling across the skin to a full out contraction of the muscle to move your body.”

Yikes! Big pitch video below.

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94 Comments »

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  1. Phendron says:

    Now all we need is a realistic smell simulator and we can bundle it all up with the oculus rift.

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      darkChozo says:

      Hey, don’t forget a taste simulator (Cooking Mama?) and a vestibular simulator.

    • DrunkMonkey says:

      http://www.gizmag.com/scentscape-system-adds-smells-to-games-and-videos/17615/

      Can’t seem to buy them though, I would actually like some extra dimensions in my games. At the right price and game.

      • Phendron says:

        I wonder what Dark Souls would smell like.

        • GameCat says:

          Remeber that pile of dead bodies lying in the depths of New Anor Londo ruins? I’m quite certain that it would smell… bad.

          Now we also need heater/cooler so add another layer of depth to lava/snow levels.
          And maybe sprinklers system to simulate underwater levels. Man, that would be deep.

        • Shepardus says:

          Because Blighttown wasn’t bad enough already?

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          Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

          Dark Souls is permeated with the smells of despair and frustration. Occasionally you catch a sniff of triumph in the nasal assault, which makes it all worthwhile.

    • Flopper says:

      My name is Michael Stanfield and I’m the vice president and co-founder… And the rich dad who is funding my son’s silly idea that is going to fail miserably.

      • Kobest says:

        I almost fell back with my chair when reading this. Thanks for the good laugh! :D

      • ResonanceCascade says:

        Just like Will Smith, AMIRITE FELLAS?

    • analydilatedcorporatestyle says:

      No we need decent games!

    • Nibblet says:

      Speaking of smell i can imagine this suit getting pretty rank after a few hours of Amnesia, F.E.A.R, Among The Sleep etc.. just how are you supposed to wash this thing?

  2. Premium User Badge

    Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

    MAXIMUM TWITCHING.

    • Knufinke says:

      JOIN THE REVOLUTION, CAPTIALIST SCUM!

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      airknots says:

      TWITCHFACE!

      • solidsquid says:

        You know, you could really bring e-sports to the masses with this kind of device. Twitch.tv game show, How Long Can They Twitch

  3. Lawful Evil says:

    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.

    Well…

    EDIT: 325$ for a piece?

  4. Skyhigh says:

    With a freaking subwoofer on the back…Really?

  5. McTerry says:

    Interesting! :D

  6. Murmur says:

    I don’t think that making my chest twitch is going to make me feel like I’m really in the game.

  7. Squire says:

    Freaky Torso Palpation FTW

  8. Mbaya says:

    I used to have one of those rumbling waist coat things back in the day, was certainly interesting before the novelty wore off.

    While I don’t think I could use this myself nowadays, it’s looking good – both in what it can do and visually, although I do question the placement of that subwoofer. Sound integration is an added bonus, if the quality is up to par, I feel people that want this level of immersion would perhaps already have shelled out for a nice pair of headphones or a quality audio setup.

    It’s a look into the future though, this, Oculus Rift, heartbeat and sweat monitoring, Omni directional treadmills, air effects and more…pretty neat stuff.

    Alternatively, buy one of those electric workout kits, wire yourself up and get someone to stand behind you and activate it when you get shot. Those things can seriously put out some kick! :P

    • belgand says:

      That’s one of my major complaints. I honestly don’t want speakers on it. I have a much nicer audio system in my living room already. One that I’ve spent rather a lot on and carefully tweaked to sound good. Not only is this going to be rather low quality, but they give away that they don’t know much about audio by strapping that odd “sub-woofer” onto the back. Low-frequency bass is non-directional and doesn’t need to hit you in the sweet spot to the same degree as higher frequencies. It’s far more affected by room dynamics and simply being able to put enough power into it.

  9. Waleebe says:

    I don’t want to know what it feels like to be shot/stabbed/bludgeoned/impaled or anything else that can happen to me in a couple of minutes of Chivalry.

  10. db1331 says:

    I must be the last person on the planet who just wants to sit down with a M+KB or controller in front of a 2D monitor.

    • Lawful Evil says:

      You would be wrong. I myself am pretty much the same.

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      darkChozo says:

      Technically speaking, wearing this vest and having an Oculus Rift in front of your eyes satisfies your criteria. As does playing video games on a Jumbotron while doing motorcycle jumps in a stadium.

    • belgand says:

      Nope, same here. I also don’t want to be “immersed’ in a film. I just want to watch it the way I always do: on a flat plane with a total absence of suspension of disbelief.

      Nobody complains that plays need to be more immersive or aren’t 3D enough. It’s as much as you can hope for by having live actors actually moving around in three-dimensional space. And they’re still performed on what is essentially a 2D plane with respect to the audience.

      At times, yes, it could be fun to have an immersive virtual reality system, but it’s not something I’d want to use for the majority of games.

      When we do see this technology finally working it’s going to come from the porn industry. That’s one of the few areas where people almost universally really do want to be completely immersed in the scene with realistic physical feedback. It’s also a much more direct and easily solved problem.

  11. Lev Astov says:

    Color me extremely skeptical, and I normally don’t doubt Kickstarter things.

    It would be very difficult to make an easily removable piece of clothing that seriously stimulates muscles. That takes adhesive contact pads, needles or, dangerously high voltage.

    Also, the subwoofer on the back is retarded. How would you sit?

    • Bhazor says:

      On the edge of your seat of course.

    • crunchyfrog555 says:

      Actually, no, it’s pretty easy to get the contracting muscle thing from contact pads that don’t have to be that sticky, and not dangerous.

      As a disabled person, I’ve been using TENS machines for years (you can see them clearly using them, or at least the pads in the video). you’d be surprised how little you need to get such an effect.

      Although they’re small points as I certainly agree I think this will be far from successful.

      I never trust pitches that are trying to tell me how I want things to be. Sad to say, this is a good proof-of-concept but never commercially viable.

      I guess their biggest failing is not knowing their market. An awful lot of us gamers do our pastime because we simply want to chill out and relax. This is possibly the furthest from that.

      I’ve never understood this fascination to “improve” things, such as the constant failed reiterations of pseudo 3D viewing over the years. Why should they need improvement? Books don’t need scratch ‘n’ sniff to get the full effect from them – you just need a good story and a brain.

      I don’t mind change at all, but there’s change for the better and change just for change’s sake. Maybe I’m just getting old…

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        Monkeyshines says:

        Note to self: Scratch-n-sniff book Kickstarter

      • Reapy says:

        You might be, to be honest. Occulouse rift is finally going to be very close to working vr. It you take a look at it they cover reasons vr has failed in the past and what the rift will be offering you should hopefully see the potential. I’m probably very similar to you, I’m usually the last person to get a new tech, and I get crap for it being a programmer and all around lifetime pc user…but I only go for something worth it.

        If you ever get a chance try a flight sim or driving game with facetracknoir (or a track ir) and you will know how much more amazing a virtual world can be when you can look around inside it.

        But yeah 3d TV and this jacket thing are making up the problems they are trying to solve for sure.

      • Lev Astov says:

        And I’m proven wrong, thanks for that. Very interesting, but wouldn’t one still have to wear nothing under the electrodes to get the muscle stim? That would obviously feed into DanMan’s concern about smell, and I doubt this thing will be very washable.

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          Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

          Don’t worry, five hundred and twelve practically painless pneumatically driven electro-harpoons, each barely larger than a human finger, will pierce your flimsy fabric coverings and infiltrate your soft human flesh to deliver GAMING into your musculature at 240V.

          Act quickly to take advantage of our “Early Bird” tier, which will transmit detailed telemetry of your skeletal collapse under the brutal stresses and strains this will inflict on your brittle calcium bones.

          Upgrade to the “Wolverine” tier to reinforce your skeleton with braces fashioned from recycled titanium hip replacements!

          Add-ons are available which will allow you to add optional features to your suit, such as a blood plasma dispenser which will automatically top up your circulatory system from the small leakage of a litre or two of blood from the harpoon/flesh interface during initiation.

          • Low Life says:

            A fine way to relax after a day with the missus, then.

          • analydilatedcorporatestyle says:

            I think in these days of power effeciency the use of 240v is outdated, up the voltage and reap the efficiency rewards, 400 000v resistence is futile.

          • SominiTheCommenter says:

            Minor Lacerations Detected
            Morphine Administered

    • Captchist says:

      At best this is v1 of a product that will be great when it hits v5.

      Predicting total gimmick. They’ve obviously spent a ton of time making it look like a Hawkeye constume and making a slick video.
      They’ve yet to answer why I would want to come home in the evening and put on a hot heavy suit before playing a game.

      • DanMan says:

        Exactly. That thing’s gonna smell terrible pretty quickly.

        *looks around*

        What?

        But seriously, not a single word about developer support. Just a lot of “Let’s build this thing, dudes! It’s gonna be sweet!”.

        Pass.

    • tnankie says:

      Resemblance to mountain bike body armour, very high.
      Consequent likelihood that it needs a similarly tight and precise fit to activate those muscles, high.
      Probability it wont properly fit on most people due to proportion differences to model, extreme.
      Therefore, probably wont work on you unless you share the body proportions of the model.

  12. PureUncut says:

    Where are the vibrating-electro stimulus-blunt object poking tactical trousers?

    This is nothing without crotch shots.

    But seriously this looks terrible.

  13. Infinite says:

    Looks awesome, if it gets on and actually become a thing I might buy until then I’ll look at it with cautious optimism.

  14. Shodex says:

    I have a feeling the most intense sensation this suit will provide you is the jarring pain you feel in your spine as you lean back on your chair against that massive sub woofer.

  15. ResonanceCascade says:

    “…an explosion…on the screen we go flying, but…”

    If this thing doesn’t fling me across the room and into a wall every time my character is near an explosion, I’m suing.

    • Shodex says:

      I’ve actually just started a Kickstarter campaign for an innovative new gaming chair I invented, equipped with a powerful ejector seat.

  16. Astartes says:

    What would happen if my character clipped through the world geometry?

    • Shodex says:

      I believe the official statement is at the moment, “Extreme contraction of all muscles followed by vigorous vibrations and possible death.”

      On a side note Bethesda just announced ARAIG support for all Elder Scrolls and Fallout games.

      • Astartes says:

        If it’s any indication of Skyrim’s pre-patch ragdoll physics , then I expect to have multiple holes in my ceiling.

        • solidsquid says:

          After the first dragon fight, pretty sure there won’t be a ceiling left to have holes in

  17. TomEllinson says:

    Am I the only one who thought it was funny when he paused briefly while saying he was the CEO of “…IFtech”?

  18. Bhazor says:

    Supported titles:
    So. Much. Porn.

  19. analydilatedcorporatestyle says:

    Some fucker has stolen all my Ring Binder Reinforcers, twats

  20. karry says:

    Because of crap like Oculus Rift, or this nonsense, we still dont have proper 3-dimensional holographic monitors. Why would anyone want to spend time wearing huge heavy goggles (with the added inconvenience of yet another cord, i might add), let alone a bulky bodysuit, instead of seeing actual 3-dimensional structures with your normal human eyes ?

    Recently i heard someone say Oculus Rift is the first step towards a fully functional holodeck. Dont make me laugh. It is the first step towards the Matrix, while choking the proper holodeck technologies in their cradle. Proper Holographic Monitors. Research. Produce. Sell. NOW !!!

    • Wurstwaffel says:

      I’d honestly rather have a matrix than a holodeck

      • 00000 says:

        I wouldn’t rule out holodecks just yet. They are still safe to operate as long as you don’t expose them to deep space anomalies.

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      darkChozo says:

      Isn’t that a bit like saying that the development of the CRT dooms the LCD to nonexistance? It’s not like the development of one technology precludes the eventual development of another technology that would have clear advantages but is a bit half-baked right now.

    • analydilatedcorporatestyle says:

      Thora Hird is wagging a weighty finger at you, don’t diss the Miss

  21. jaypettitt says:

    Looks silly, but I’m just going to leave this snippet from the wacky world of neuroscience here…

    http://www.nature.com/news/out-of-body-experience-master-of-illusion-1.9569

  22. Didden says:

    Its almost like they read: http://www.readyplayerone.com/ Great gaming book btw.

  23. Premium User Badge

    Colonel J says:

    Can’t afford this? Keep forgetting to unplug your Xbox 360 controller during BF3? Instead, simply duck tape it to your chest.

  24. dE says:

    This is gonna be great. First we teach gamers how to use guns, turn them into sociopaths that flip out for the most minicule of reasons and then adapt them to wear bodyarmor pretty much 24/7.

    • Phendron says:

      I don’t really relate wearing motorcycle jackets while playing call of duty to useful combat training.

      • dE says:

        Where are you from? Must be a dreadful place, a society without any sense of humour.

        • Phendron says:

          I suppose that Jack Thompson and Focus on the Family spent too much of the 90’s spinning this yarn for me to find any remaining humor in it.

          • 00000 says:

            I bet you’re from Switzerland! A place that enlists sociopaths to give them actual combat training and then sends them on their merry motorcycling way with their service weapon.
            Tch! Don’t fool yourself, the Swiss haven’t a sense of humor to begin with.

    • solidsquid says:

      They’re even getting fit enough they could pose an actual threat now that they have omni-directional treadmills! Won’t someone think of the children?!?

  25. solymer89 says:

    No pants? …. I like that

  26. Aauthor says:

    All the coolest bedroom soldiers wear downhill mountain bike armour with TENS pad glued into ‘em.

  27. dmoe says:

    How has no one linked the PBF strip yet?
    http://pbfcomics.com/134/

  28. DestructibleEnvironments says:

    So will this suit be supported in erotic games? We were all thinking it, right? >_>

    • solidsquid says:

      Pretty sure that kind of game and accessory has already been developed in Japan. Excuse me for not linking it for you though, on a work computer currently

      • Phendron says:

        Rez and the PP (pleasure peripheral)!

        I heard it was a pretty good game though.

    • hypercrisis says:

      Of course! In an erotic adventure where you make love to a washing machine and it gently vibrates your torso to ecstasy.

  29. Megakoresh says:

    900K to include manufacturing of these? Like really?
    I do not see the use of this thing in my house, just like I don’t see the use of Oculus Rift, however, it’s this iteration and all these products that eventually lead to something great, so this is worth supporting just for that alone.

  30. hypercrisis says:

    What? Going outside not good enough or you?

    Are we entering 90s dumb peripheral era again?

  31. BooleanBob says:

    Looks like Brendan’s been working out.

  32. SuperNashwanPower says:

    Not that this suit will necessarily take us to that point, but I wonder at what level of immersion does the common blood soaked or atrocity-ridden videogame experience stop being exhilarating, and shade into traumatic? At what point will the brain think its real enough to start laying down some serious fear / phobia patterns? Just curious.