We tested Skinetic, the haptic jacket that lets you feel video games

To enhance immersion, especially in virtual reality, the company Aktronika has created a “haptic jacket”, which allows you to feel what you see on the screen. BFMTV had the opportunity to test it.

Rain, wind, fire: haptic technology, which creates “tactile illusions”, allows you to feel everything. This device, sometimes presented as the future of virtual reality, was used by the Aktronika company to create its Skinetic jacket, which BFMTV was able to test.

Skinetic, the jacket created by Aktronika, has 20 “actuators”, tiny motors emitting vibrations at low frequencies, which “reproduce the sense of touch”.

These actuators, distributed over the chest and back, will allow a high level of immersion in video games. Explosions, wind, but also laser and gunshots make it possible to achieve the variety of sensations, which guarantee “total immersion” in the virtual universe.

Physically feel the virtual

We were able to try the jacket in combination with a virtual reality headset, so that the immersion was optimal. The garment is easy to put on: once adjusted, you just have to zip the jacket, which is rather light and space-saving.

Several events then allowed us to take the measure of the sensations allowed by haptic technology. When the rain fell on us, we could feel the simulation of drops in our back while bending over.

We were exposed to an explosion, crossed by a laser, or suffered the shooting of a machine gun… All without any pain, fortunately, replaced by moderate but effective impacts.

The effects of the jacket are worked to reproduce the sense of touch as well as possible, but also to adapt to more dynamic events. With the key to a surprising diversity of sensations: the softness of the rain has nothing to do, for example, with that of the explosion or the impacts of a bullet.

Low frequency vibrations

Haptic technology uses low-frequency vibrations, achieved through numerous studies of human senses. This system is already found on the controllers of the latest generation consoles, such as the DualSense 2 of the PlayStation 5. Meta also unveiled the development, last year, of a pair of haptic gloves that go with the development strategy of its metaverse.

“The Holy Grail of haptic technology is virtual reality. The goal of the game is total immersion,” says Gilles Meyer, CEO of Aktronika. This Parisian start-up, founded in 2016, specializes in haptic technology and offers products in entertainment, automotive or well-being.

While immersion is indeed optimal in the context of virtual reality, the vest can also be used in other circumstances. For example, you can enjoy it by listening to a piece of music or watching a movie. However, video games remain a key argument for its use.

Compatible with all helmets

To enable studios to include this technology in their games, Aktronika provides a variety of self-service tools. Its haptic system must indeed be integrated upstream in order to be compatible with the game.

Currently, Skinetic is compatible with all virtual reality headsets currently available on the market, such as the Meta Quest (formerly Oculus) or the PS VR. Some games are already available with this technology, and others should follow.

Skinetic is currently only available for pre-order: the final models will be available by the end of the year, for around 590 euros.

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We tested Skinetic, the haptic jacket that lets you feel video games

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