ThermoReal brings hot and cold sensations to virtual reality

I had a VR snowball fight – and actually shivered.

While the virtual reality industry chases suits and gloves providing pressurized feedback, TEGway is a Korean company that's developed a haptic feedback system for feeling temperatures. This would have been a pitch I'd laughed at — if I hadn't experienced it myself. After throwing a few fireballs and snowballs in VR, I'm ready to curl up with a good book in front of a virtual fireplace.

The Hotness — ThermoReal is generating actual heat within its arm and wrist patches, complete with built-in vents to keep you from getting too sweaty. It's also using electroconductivity to simulate coldness on the skin which, in my demo at least, worked incredibly well. It should also be noted that the tech doesn't require nitrogen cartridges or any kind of fuel (as one might imagine), it's simply running off electric power and therefore require limited upkeep. This also means that the device can switch between hot and cold sensations faster than my skin could actually perceive.

The Cooldown — This is likely going to be too specific and too expensive an experience on its own. There's no game that requires you to feel temperature so specifically that it would be unplayable without. However, if this tech were to be integrated into a larger haptic feedback package like the Teslasuit, it could be incredibly addictive and a big differentiator for those experiences.

The use cases will probably include gaming more than anything else, but I could also see people falling asleep while sunning themselves on virtual beaches or cooling themselves at a virtual oasis. Now I would like them to build me an entire suit of this for me to wear when I'm trapped in a subway station next summer.