Wearable gaming - A brief history
The idea of wearable gaming is not so new. Since the invention of computing, people dreamed of new methods of interacting with the virtual world. Technological history is filled with different devices which can make ordinary controllers look unattractive.
The issue is that companies created many failed gaming systems, such as Sega created VR or Nintendo c Power Glove. Although they were not the expected success, these concepts helped create the present day virtual reality.
1984 ‘ Casio GDB
Casio, a Japanese company was a leader in the 80s when it came to games. They integrated their digital watch with different types of technology such as calculators, FM transmitters and remote controls, and later on also added a game system. The system only needed some liquid crystals to display lit up vehicles, thus creating the formula one racing sensation on your one inch square screen. This was the first result in wearable gaming.
1989 ‘ Nintendo Power Glove
The Power Glove was ahead of its time with its five-fingered controller. Optic fibers were stretched along the player’s knuckles and joints, the light travelled with the help of the glove’s system of trackers. Nintendo intended for this to be the first immersive experience in home gaming but the games were not that great.
1992 ‘ Sega Lock On
Laser tag systems were very popular in the late 80s and 90s due their ability to let children experience the fun and joy of paintball games without the mess. Sega’s Lock On had a headset which received the enemy’s shots. Its innovative feature was in the reflective visor which allowed the player to see their current score.
1993 ‘ Sega VR
such as now, people waited on a consumer-grade headset and Sega was the one that presented such a device in 1993. Sega’s device was never released because the company considered it ‘too realistic’, thing which could have lead to people hurting themselves. Its low system specs show that this was a simple lie.
1994 ‘ Aura Interactor
Aura Interactor is a wearable gaming device which had a detuned subwoofer which would be strapped to the gamer’s chest and plugged into the game console. The Interactor would send a shockwave when a low-pitched sound occurred in the game to simulate either a punch or a gun shot.
1995 ‘ Virtual Boy
Nintendo’s Virtual Boy was probably the biggest game device fail. This device used multiple LEDs lights and the parallax technique to create a sense of 3D effect. Even though it did not sell good, Virtual Boy tried to present 3D gaming to the population.
2001 ‘ TrackIR
This device is still available to purchase. We can classify the NaturalPoint TrackIR between ordinary 3D gaming and full virtual reality experience. TrackIR is very easy to use, all you have to do is connect it to your computer via USB and it can read your head movements with the help of a small infrared emitter. Your movements will be translated to the in-game environment and this will move the perspective in the game.
2008 ‘ Neural Impulse Actuator
In 1984, Atari tried to create a computer which was able to read the players’ mind. Mindlink was never produced due to the fact that the test players complained about headaches. After this, OCZ created the Neural Impulse Actuator. This device worked with three sensor which detected the brain’s impulses and transformed them into virtual trigger pulls and jumps.