With the “Feelbelt”, the games industry will soon be enriched by one innovation. The hip belt is supposed to convert sounds into vibrations and make sound actually noticeable - on a multi-dimensional level, not just as a bass. Tech-savvy gamers in particular could benefit from the new belt and immerse themselves even deeper in game worlds than before. The Feelbelt starts on April 28th as a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter.
Vibration and gaming have been linked for a long time. However, the technology behind it has changed over the years. It was the Japanese games group Nintendo who brought the "Rumble Rak", a technology onto the market in 1997, that had a lasting impact on the industry. Shaking it as violently as possible was all the rage, but that was over 20 years ago.
Vibration technology still exists in the gaming segment, but today it is no longer pure strength that counts, but accuracy. The more differentiated a vibration controller can transfer the game from the screen to the players' hands, the better. And again it was the Nintendo company that revolutionized the sector - this time with the Joy-Cons of the Nintendo Switch, an underlying HD vibration that can even be used to “feel” quantities.
German start-up invents innovative "vibrating belt"
The clock keeps ticking, inventors remain inventive. And so it is a German start-up that wants to make previously unprecedented shaking and shaking effects palatable to users. Not on the wrist or in the hands, but on the hip. This is new and unusual. The self-imposed goal of the makers behind the "Feelbelt", the plausible name of the technology product, is ambitious: "To create the best gaming and sound experience that has ever existed," announced the company from Potsdam.
The technology behind the patented process: With the help of a total of ten pulse generators integrated in a belt, sound should no longer remain audible, but rather felt. Anyone who has given themselves the full roar from the mega-boxes next to the stage at a rock concert has probably already noticed that such a concept can work.
The prototype of the Feelbelt should go into series production thanks to crowdfunding. Photo: Feelbelt GmbH
For users, the handling should be simple: the wireless belt can be connected to any audio source via Wifi or Bluetooth, optionally also with a classic jack. Different modes should then adapt the effects to the respective areas of application. The Feelbelt can be used not only for listening to music, but also for a movie night - or while gaming.
A positive side effect: "The more emotional and more realistic perception of games through the Feelbelt increases the ability of gamers to concentrate and leads to better performance through increased reaction speed," says the company. If so, even esports could benefit from the gadget.
Feelbelt is funded through Kickstarter
The belt, which weighs less than 400 grams, will work wirelessly - and that calls out for battery power. According to the inventors, the energy reserves should last for about six hours, then the gadget - which, by the way, is controlled via an app - has to be plugged in again.
With our unique approach we are revolutionizing the perception and emotionality of sound and music. Our self-developed pulse generators make it possible for the first time to feel every frequency with the entire body. By activating another sensory organ, we create a completely new kind of experience, especially in the gaming area.COO and Co-Founder Felix Weiß
The prerequisites have been created to create an innovative gadget with added value with the Feelbelt. In any case, gamers should be able to take their perception to a “new level” and feel game situations - at least if the sound plays along. This is a basic requirement for the functionality of the belt. The better the sound of a video game, the more differentiated the Feelbelt can display it.
The ten pulse generators shake the sound from all directions on the hips. Photo: Feelbelt GmbH
The idea has potential, especially in connection with virtual reality. It can currently be reproduced in an excellent way, and sometimes feels sterile due to the lack of haptic components.
Nevertheless: The Feelbelt is probably not a mass product, it has that in common with current VR technologies. The strength of the product, however, could lie in its niche that focuses on tech enthusiasts. Sound improvements are often well received by them - and the belt delivers “sound” in its own way in “surround” on the hip and thus in a completely different way that could lead to particularly immersive game situations in the games sector.
Grüner had already presented their innovation at the IFA. The response was positive. And then there is another benefit that exceeds that of the pure entertainment value: Even the deaf and hearing impaired can use the Feelbelt for the first time to perceive the entire spectrum of music and thus participate in the musical experience.
Hip belt: just buckle up and get started. Photo: Feelbelt GmbH
Feelbelt GmbH has a worldwide patent and is the winner of the German Start-Up Innovation Award 2019. However, the Feelbelt still has to overcome one hurdle: crowdfunding.
Via Kickstarter, the makers bring their “world first for the reproduction of all auditory frequency spectrums” to the general public. The launch is scheduled for April 28th. The Potsdam start-up is thus smoothing its way into the international market. The early bird price is 199 euros, in retail the Feelbelt will then cost 329 euros.
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