Virtual reality promises to bring users to places that are otherwise inaccessible, but there are limits to how much you can experience. A headset might be able to put you in a room with a dog, but that doesn't mean you can pet it. Japanese company H2L wants to break that barrier with their new device, the UnlimitedHand. The invention wraps around your arm and allows you to "feel" virtual reality.
By strapping this simple armband on, you can convert your limb into a video game controller. The device allows you to interact with the virtual world, and lets the things inhabiting the world interact with you. UnlimitedHand has a muscle sensor, 3D-motion sensor, multi-channel electronic muscle stimulator (EMS), and a vibration motor. It senses your movements while the EMS array sends tiny electronic pulses through your muscles, making it seem as though you're actually feeling something. The sensations can mimic all kinds of experiences, from the resistance caused by pushing against something, to the light pressure you'd feel from a bird perching on your finger.
While it might be fun to pet a virtual bird, getting shot seems a lot less appealing. It's unclear how painful certain "occasions of being inflicted within damage" will be, but judging by the casual phrasing, it's probably no worse than a vibrating controller.
The unique device has an open platform strategy and can be paired with most VR games, as long as you install a plug-in for Unity, a popular engine used in VR and 3D games.
The project is currently drumming up support on Kickstarter, with the bands costing about $188 each.