Tactile Gaming Vest (TGV)

The TGV is a haptic feedback device developed for enhancing the immersive experience of first- and third-person shooter games.

This vest features a multitude of solenoids, eccentric-mass motors, and Peltier elements controlled by custom electronics and a personal computer.

The vest simulates the appropriate sensation, such as bullet hits, vibrations, and/or heat, in the location on the player’s body that corresponds to the injury experienced by their character in the game.

Photo: Gaming vest (Saurabh Palan)

The device was demonstrated at the HAPTICS SYMPOSIUM 2010 in Waltham, MA, and received honorable mentions in IEEE Spectrum and WIRED.

The article in Penn Gazette gave a very positive user response for the vest.

The project started as a class assignment for ‘MEAM 625: Haptic Interfaces for Virtual Environments and Teleoperation’ in Spring 2009.

After receiving a positive response at the end of the semester, the team decided to continue their research. The project was completed by Me, Ned Naukam, and Edward Li. They worked together to model the solenoid forces and the effects of the vest on the skin and to put the vest together, especially the hardware placement and structure.

The motivation behind the TGV project was the ongoing trend of making gaming and cinema experiences more realistic. With the growing demand for 3D movies and games, specialized gadgets and equipment are necessary to provide audio and visual effects.

The desire for realistic virtual experiences inspired the team to take a step further into the fourth dimension, incorporating physical or haptic feedback.

The TGV vest is not only limited to shooter games but could also enhance other games, such as laser tag and military training, as well as movie-watching experiences.

Though there has been some progress in 4D movies, the physical effects are currently only presented at special venues, such as theme parks and amusement parks.

Simunitions are used by police and military forces for realistic training, but they are expensive substitutes for live ammunition.

The team chose to build a vest for gaming as a starting point, as it was easier to specify the location of physical impacts.

They included sensations of gunshots, punching, and kicking, body blows, surrounding environment temperature, impacts due to artillery and ammunition, and even blood flowing from the location of the gunshot.

However, due to a lack of time, they were only able to simulate gunshots, slashing, and blood flow sensation.

The team found it challenging to simulate a gunshot to feel almost real without causing any harm or long-term injury to the user.

It was difficult to imagine how a gunshot feels like, and searching for people who have been shot and are willing to describe the experience was next to impossible.

However, they decided to trust their instincts and judgement to simulate the gunshot feeling, which is a sudden but momentary impact on the body lasting a few milliseconds.

The sensation of blood flowing on the body was included by the team, but they were only able to simulate this sensation to a limited extent.

The TGV vest is a groundbreaking device that could transform the gaming industry and make virtual experiences more immersive. The team worked tirelessly to create a vest that simulates the sensation of bullet hits, vibrations, and heat. With the success of this project, the gaming industry can take a step further towards providing a more realistic and engaging experience for gamers.


[1] W. Lindeman, R.W. and Cutler. Controller Design for a Wearable, Near-Field Haptic Display, Proc. of the 11th Symp. on Haptic Interfaces for Virtual Environment and Teleoperator Systems (2003), pp.397-403.

[2] W. Lindeman, Y. Yanagida, H. Noma and K. Hosaka, Wearable vibrotactile systems for virtual contact and information display, Virtual Reality (2006), Vol. 9 n.2, pp. 203-213.

[3] J. Teh, S. P. Lee and A. D. Cheok. Internet Pajama: A Mobile Hugging Communication System, ICAT (2005), Vol. 157, pp. 274-274.

[4] J. Teh, A. D. Cheok. Huggy Pajama: a mobile parent and child hugging communication system. Proc. IDC ’08. ACM Press (2008), pp. 250-257.

[5] T. O. Gilad, Y. Salzer, A. Ronen. Thermoelectric Tactile Display Based on the Thermal Grill Illusion. ACM (2007), Vol. 250, pp. 303-304.

[6] L. M. Brown , S. A. Brewster , H. C. Purchase, Multidimensional tactons for non-visual information presentation in mobile devices, ACM (2006), Vol. 159, Pages: 231–238.

[7] P. Lemmens, F. Crompvoets, D.Brokken. A body-conforming tactile jacket to enrich movie viewing. Third Joint Eurohaptics Conference and Symposium on Haptic Interfaces forVirtual Environment and Teleoperator Systems (2009). Salt Lake City, UT, USA

[8] S. Ooshima, Y. Hashimoto, H. Ando, J. Watanabe, H. Kajimoto. Simultaneous presentation of tactile and auditory motion to the abdomen to present the feeling of being slashed. SICE Annual Conference (2008). Pages: 467-471.

[9] Saurabh Palan Blog

Leave a Comment