The Samsung Entrim 4D Headset debuts at the SXSW 2016, but is still just a C-lab experiment.
With a virtual reality headset, the possibilities of what you can see are practically infinite. What you can physically feel, on the other hand, is far more limited, meaning experiences can be fairly restricted in terms of immersion.But what if VR could trick the part of the ear that regulates your balance and motion into making you feel like you are a part of the excitement ?
This is the idea behind Entrim 4D. Using a combination of algorithms and Galvanic Vestibular Stimulation (GVS), a safe and simple technique that sends specific electric messages to a nerve in the ear, the VR accessory synchronizes your body with changing movements in video content.
Electrical signals—like the ones used to help restore balance in stroke patients—are delivered via headphones equipped with electrodes that correspond with movement data input by engineers. Users thus feel as if they are a part of the on-screen action, and can also sense direction and speed of movement. And, when paired with the team’s Drone FPV, which utilizes data from the drone’s motion sensors, they can even feel like they are flying.
In this regard, Entrim 4D aims to create an unrivaled entertainment experience, removing the need for expensive 4D motion chairs.
“Virtual reality shouldn’t be experienced only with the eyes,” says Steve Jung, Creative Leader of the project. “With Entrim 4D, we hope that people can experience VR the way it was meant to be—with their whole bodies.”
To ensure the best possible VR experience, the Entrim 4D team, made up of an eclectic mix of hardware professionals, software engineers and biomedical engineering experts, have conducted experiments on more than 1,500 people and developed 30 different movement patterns.
They are also working on a version that uses additional electrodes to create a sense of rotational motion. But the team behind Entrim 4D also hopes that the device will help fix one of the major pain points of virtual reality: motion sickness.
Unsurprisingly, the mental discrepancy of seeing yourself riding a roller coaster or zooming around a race track but not actually experiencing the movement can leave you nauseous, dizzy and can even cause headaches. Entrim 4D, though still in a developmental phase, may well be able to present a new and practical solution.