Traditional VR technology, from a headset for example, engage only two senses, namely sight and sound.
But recently, with the growth of the haptics market, developers have been branching out, and trying to incorporate touch and smell, into the VR experience in order to further heighten the realism.
The possibilities, especially concerning the use of touch, are huge. And not just confined to niche markets – or gaming.
One of the criticisms of VR is that the experience can, sometimes, be a little isolating, but these new developments could transform it into one of the most intimate, most involving entertainment, and learning mediums available.
Provided all physical contact is consensual and appropriate, being able to physically interact with the virtual world could open up a practically endless world of possibilities. How long is it until VR becomes indistinguishable from reality?
The most obvious way that touch could be successfully implemented into the world of VR is with horror survival games.
An already terrifying experience could be made even more intense if, when the character is grabbed by a monster in the virtual world, the user of the technology is also grabbed by someone in the real world.
While games will provide an enormous market for these products, the implications in healthcare, education and industrial training are equally exciting.