“It’s alive!” shouts Anton Bailey, while clutching virtual reality controllers that enable him to feel a hologram actress. Softly holding his hand next to the actress’ bare skin, Bailey can even sense her heart beat, conveyed by the controller’s subtle vibration. Poking the holograms results in a stronger feedback, as one would expect.Tech startup PrimaVR’s virtual reality software is the first in the world to provide haptic feedback to hologram videos. Bailey, a spokesperson for PrimaVR, applauds the achievement, “This is groundbreaking development in immersive entertainment. Sense of touch is the final frontier of virtual reality, and we have taken the initial steps to deliver tactile sensations via hologram video recordings.”Previously virtual reality videos have been strictly passive experiences, where one can only observe events with their eyes and ears. Thanks to PrimaVR’s software development efforts, you can now enter inside a hologram video that is made tangible with consumer-grade virtual reality controllers. It is easy to envision how such tactile holograms could be used in medical training and diagnostics, telepresence, and art.PrimaVR’s holograms also react to the user’s touch, which is another world first in hologram video technology; pushing one’s hand against the body of the actress displaces the virtual soft tissue, while a gentle slap results in a visually pleasant jiggle. “We have combined these novel hologram features with traditional video controls. You can fast forward and rewind as you please, or pause the video and still keep interacting with the holograms,” describes Bailey.The technology still has its limitations. Complex interactions like shaking hands with the hologram video actors are not yet possible. The tactile properties of different hologram objects are not distinguished in the PrimaVR’s demo, and for now everything feels the same, regardless of the material. Bailey says that his team is already working on improvements: “We will keep pushing this technology forward, simply because hologram videos have such great potential.”
PrimaVR is a small startup focused on advancing virtual reality entertainment. They were the first to release a hologram sex video in March 2015. In December 2015 PrimaVR’s hologram video player was updated to allow users to participate in hologram videos with their own bodies.