Novint Xio exoskeletal arm takes a whack at immersive gaming

The Wii and Kinect were the beginnings of a major revolution for gaming, allowing you to get up off the couch and actually experience some of the physical action of games yourself. Novint is taking that up a notch with the Xio, a self-contained force-feedback immersive exoskeletal gaming arm.

The Novint Xio is a prototype exoskeletal arm that functions as a game controller. You strap it on, and as you wave your arm around, the Xio tracks your movements and translates them into in-game motions. That's great, but the exciting bit is that the Xio also has a force-feedback component:

Unlike current motion control technologies out there, you will be able to feel what is in the game. When you shoot a gun, take a full body golf swing, jump a car, or smash a sword into a shield, you'll be able to feel what happens.

The ability for a game to reach out and smack you is something that hasn't yet been taken advantage of, for the most part, but it really has the potential to make that immersive gaming experience that we all crave even more, uh, immersiver. At the moment, the most severe consequence that a game can generally inflict on us is annoyance, when you die and have to start something over.

With force feedback controllers, though, there are physical consequences to what you do in game. I'm not saying that gaming should cause you pain, but if you can directly experience even a little bit of what's physically happening in-game, it'll be that much easier for you to immerse yourself in the game world, which is why we play video games in the first place.

To demonstrate how the Xio works, Novit decided to wire it into a "self contained virtual reality gaming and training system," consisting of a backpack computer, VR goggles, the Xio arm, and a full-size replica gun that allows you to actually run around and feel like you're in the game:

While Novint doesn't seem to be selling this whole immersive system to the public, the Xio exoskeletal arm itself is in the prototype stage and should be available, eventually, at a price similar to that of Novint's Falcon controller, which would put it in the several hundred dollar range.

Novint Xio, via Gizmodo

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