The experimental VR headphone project will be revealed at SXSW 2016.
Leading up to CES in January, Samsung revealed a set of new motion controllers dubbed Rink, designed specifically for the Gear VR headset. The Rink controllers were created by the company’s R&D program Creative Lab (C-Lab) and shown off in in small booth at the electronics convention. They were very experimental, but it was good to see Samsung push forward innovation with their mobile VR headset.
Now Samsung has announced that they will be unveiling their latest C-Lab experiment at SXSW with what they are calling Entrim 4D, a motion headset that supposedly “lets you feel” virtual reality.
According to Samsung, the idea behind the Entrim 4D headphone accessory is to synchronize your body with changing movements in VR video content. This is accomplished by using a “combination of algorithms and Galvanic Vestibular Stimulation (GVS), a safe and simple technique that sends specific electric messages to a nerve in the ear.”
Entrim 4D delivers electrical signals – like the ones used to help restore balance in stroke patients – via headphones equipped with electrodes that correspond with movement data input by engineers. This allows you to feel a sense of direction and speed movement according to Samsung, potentially eliminating the need for expensive 4D motion chairs.
The team working on the experimental accessory is made up of a mix of hardware professionals, software engineers and biomedical engineering experts. An eclectic team mix is quite common with C-Lab R&D projects from what we had seen with the Rink hand controllers team.
The Entrim 4D team has apparently already conducted experiments on more than 1,500 people and developed 30 different movement patterns to date. They are also working on a version that uses additional electrodes to create a sense of rotational motion.
Although details are pretty limited for now, Entrim 4D does appear to be a focused effort on the part of Samsung to develop solutions that can help solve pain points like motion sickness in virtual reality. The discrepancy of seeing yourself riding a roller coaster or zooming around a race track but not actually experiencing the movement can leave you nauseous, dizzy and can even cause headaches. Entrim 4D is an experimental step to maybe one day provide a solution.