Disney Research

We thought it'd take years to see Surround Haptics make its way affordably into future living rooms. After all, it was only at last year's SIGGRAPH that Disney Research demoed the tech in a $5,000 prototype chair. But with the impending release of The Avengers-branded Vybe gaming pad, it's clear the family-friendly conglomerate found a way to fast-track its patent-pending sensory solution as an all-purpose peripheral. Set to hit Walmart and select Meijer stores in time for the holidays, the $99 speaker-laden pad utilizes an Arm Cortex M3 microprocessor and features an array of actuating motors to translate audio from most any source (e.g.,TV, videogame console, smartphone or tablet) into dynamic localized or general vibratory feedback. Whether or not it's actually pleasing to use remains to be seen -- our time with a preview model seemed to indicate otherwise. That said, if you're in the market for a full body tactile experience, we'd wager comfort's the last thing on your mind. Check out the official PR after the break.

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Comfort Research and Marvel Entertainment Revolutionizes Gaming Technology with the Vybe Haptic Gaming Pad

New revolutionary tactile feedback technology meets The Avengers
to radically transform gaming, movie and music experiences.

Grand Rapids, Mich., November 26, 2012 - Comfort Research and Marvel Entertainment introduce the Avengers-licensed Vybe Haptic Gaming Pad - the "Vybe," a gaming pad that immerses the user in games, movies and music like never before by featuring an innovative technology that is content-driven to deliver a rich, dynamically-changing variety of tactile vibrating sensations. The Vybe maps any source of sound into Hi-Fidelity Vibro-Tactile sensations that can be localized and/or streamed across your body. For action game play, users can feel the jolt of explosions and gunfire from several different locations or the rumblings of the road underneath. When listening to music, users can experience smooth migrating vibration sensations that change with the beat of a song. For movie-enthusiasts, watching an action-packed film like Marvel's The Avengers becomes the ultimate fan experience of being immersed in the action.

The Vybe is based on innovative, patent pending tactile technology algorithms developed at the Disney Research Labs, called "Surround HapticsTM." The Surround HapticsTM software in the pad converts general audio input into complex and rich tactile vibration sensations that can target different parts of the human body and/or dynamically move across the body. Since each vibrating actuator is independently controlled, the pad can deliver a myriad of rich sensations simultaneously. Typical gaming chairs mostly deliver general buzzing or pulsing of the entire chair.

"The Vybe Haptic Gaming Pad is truly a game changer that adds a whole new dimension of user experiences through tactile sensations," notes Danny Kim, Director of Softlines Licensing for Marvel. "Our goal is to enhance and transform the way consumers experience their content, while introducing never-before-seen technology to the marketplace."

The Vybe works with any sound source such as a gaming console, TV, computer, or mobile phone using a standard audio cable (included in the box). Available in black with the iconic Avengers "A" symbol embroidered on the back of the pad, it is designed for easy set up and fold away for convenient storage. The embedded speaker system in the Vybe provides crystal clear sound and a control panel to allow for adjustments in the sound volume and intensity of the tactile sensations. The Vybe is available December 2012 at Walmart.com and select Meijer's stores. For more information, please visit: http://comfortresearch.com/haptic/.