Entering a virtual reality world may soon be as easy as slipping on a life jacket with the development of ARAIG — a wearable wireless, multi-sensory, immersive suit for gaming and simulation training. The suit is the brainchild of Michael and Brodie Stanfield, founders of Inventing Future Technologies Inc.—IFTech for short — a start-up from Oshawa, Ontario.
ARAIG, an acronym for “As real as it gets,” was developed with computer gaming in mind. It consists of an inner T-shirt-like layer and an outer exoskeleton that looks like a high-tech version of a football player’s pads. ARAIG offers wearers surround sound, vibration, pressure and resistance feedback —basically allowing users to feel what’s happening in the virtual world, where in the past they only saw graphics and heard sound tracks.
ARAIG also has possibilities beyond gaming. The Stanfields have even heard from the Canadian Armed Forces, interested in the product’s potential as a hyper-realistic way to train and simulate combat.
When they approached George Brown, the Stanfields already had a proof-of-concept model. They had worked with Durham College on the vest’s electronics and their online community advised on its look and feel. What they needed from George Brown was help with the challenge of making the ARAIG vest washable, breathable and in line with aesthetic requirements. Two fashion studies students were recruited to undertake the design
They were supervised by principal investigator and faculty member Zoran Dobric, who noted that “IFTECH is a great example of the next level of wearable technology. It can be implemented in both entertainment and gaming industries, as well as simulation and training.”
After many iterations and pattern prototypes, IFTech now has product specifications, and is working closely with manufacturers for commercialization. Recently, IFTech won in the Durham region of the Spark Ignite Competition, taking home a prize of $25,000.