Wearable technology is already part of everyday life, and so many of us are adopting fitness trackers and smartwatches for everyday use. Analytics firm GlobalData predicts that the wearable technology market will grow at 24.6% each year and be worth more than €156 billion by 2024. Smartwatches represent the largest and fastest-growing segment, followed by fitness trackers – but wearable tech is about so much more than monitoring health metrics and counting steps.
The Teslasuit looks like a wetsuit, but is actually a full-body haptic feedback system that uses electro-muscle stimulation (EMS) and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) to simulate a range of real-life feelings and sensations based on visual simulations that can be seen on a screen or headset.
Similarly, the Teslasuit glove, worn over the hand, consists of an ‘exoskeleton’ that creates resistance and gently pulls on the fingers during grasping movements to create the perception of holding a fixed object, effectively allowing wearers to do things in a virtual being able to touch and feel space. Wearable technology of this standard can help bring the metaverse to life.
“You need all the senses for it to be a truly metaverse experience,” said Paul Nickas, Vice President of Global Partnerships, Teslasuit. “You have to be able to really push that experience beyond what VR alone would be [Virtual Reality] actually. Right now, in the metaverse, people see it as an auditory and visual experience. With the ability to feel, using what we have, both the glove and the suit, that’s the metaverse experience.”
Wearable technology for the feet is also evolving. EKTO ONE’s motorized footwear is made of light but strong carbon fiber and allows movement in all directions in the virtual world.
“Being able to move into the metaverse becomes key when we talk about a virtual world that you can explore just like the real world,” says EKTO VR founder and CEO Brad Factor. “With our robot boots you put them on over your shoes, you put on the VR headset and then you just walk and you feel like you’re really walking through the environment [on the screen].”
Wearable technology is currently prohibitively expensive. The Teslasuit alone costs €13,000. At these prices, market adoption will be slow and limited, but the industry is focusing on creating wearable technology that is more cost-effective.
“That’s the big thing for the industry. How do we make this more accessible to consumers?” says Ihsan Anabtawi, CMO of Microsoft UAE, adding, “Hopefully we’ll get there.”
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