The inventor of a shirt that contains 14 sensors and can track bodily movements in virtual reality (VR) is betting on so-called smart clothing to take off.
Japanese firm Xenoma has created a product known as the “e-skin” which links to smartphones via Bluetooth. When a smartphone powers a VR headset such as the Samsung GearVR, the e-skin can be recognized and is able to mirror a person’s motion within the VR experience.
Currently, body tracking in VR is very difficult because it requires cameras and sensors dotted around a room to accurately track motion.
“We can do the motion input for virtual reality, usually people use a camera but in our case we don’t need a camera,” Ichiro Amimori, CEO of Xenoma, told CNBC in a TV interview on Wednesday at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) Asia, in Shanghai.
Currently, Xenoma is selling a $5,000 version of the e-skin that is aimed at developers to create apps on Microsoft’s Windows and Google’s Android operating systems. This will allow the apps to work on Samsung’s GearVR and also Google’s Daydream VR headsets.
While the price is high, Amimori is hoping to put a consumer version of the product on sale via a crowdfunding platform like Kickstarter which will be “cheaper than $500,” he said.