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ZephVR Adds Wind Simulation to Virtual Reality

by Paul Strauss
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If you’ve ever strapped on a proper virtual reality headset like an Oculus Rift or an HTC Vive, you know how truly immersive today’s VR experiences can be. But there are still some things that break the illusion, like not being able to truly walk around, and the way things FEEL versus the way things LOOK.

In the interest of making VR experiences even more realistic, ZephVR is developing an inexpensive add-on for VR goggles that is designed to produce simulated wind while you make your way through the VR landscape.

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The ZephVR adds a pair of lightweight fans to your goggles, and hits you with a breeze of air that’s synchronized with your VR games. Apparently, it uses audio from VR games and machine learning algorithms to listen for wind noise to determine when to blow its fans, rather than detecting player movements. I think that approach seems a little odd, but I’m guessing it’s easier to intercept the audio compared to trying to determine movements in 3D space.

In addition to the autonomous mode for gameplay, the fans can be turned on full time in case you just want to keep cool while playing. Plus, the system is compatible with all three major VR platforms, Rift, Vive, and PlayStation VR.

The early bird deal for the ZephVR has the add-on priced at just $75, so it’s a reasonably inexpensive add-on to your VR rig. It’s an interesting idea, though I think you might want to wait to test one out before jumping into the Kickstarter fray on this one.



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