Samsung’s Gear VR headset is the best consumer option for experiencing virtual reality, although the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive will deliver more advanced options within weeks. Still, it’s pretty immersive – and Samsung has new hardware to amp up that sensation.
Unveiled this week at SXSW 2016, the Entrim 4D is a pair of motion headphones that provide a form of physical feedback to your body while viewing VR experiences. According to Samsung, the headphones “trick the part of the ear that regulates your balance and motion into making you feel like you are part of the excitement.”
“Using a combination of algorithms and Galvanic Vestibular Stimulation (GVS), a safe and simple technique that sends specific electric messages to a nerve in the ear, the VR accessory synchronizes your body with changing movements in video content,” says Samsung’s blog post. “Electrical signals – like the ones used to help restore balance in stroke patients – are delivered via headphones equipped with electrodes that correspond with movement data input by engineers.”
The headset can even be used with Samsung’s Drone FPV and provide a sensation of flying via its motion sensors. Samsung says that the Entrim 4D headset can help users feel virtual reality without motion sickness, as the feedback helps contextualise the VR visuals and trick your brain into thinking it’s all real.
Entrim 4D comes out of Samsung’s C-Lab program, which the company uses to let its employees explore and potentially market their own product ideas, but there’s currently no release date or price target announced. And it’s not yet known if the headphones will work with other VR headsets, or if it’ll just be a Gear VR accessory.