Hands-on: Immerz Kor-Fx gaming vest with 4DFX technology review
Immerz is currently at E3 2014 in Los Angeles, where it is showing off the Kor-Fx gaming vest. Pocket-lint has experienced the complete demo and can report our initial reaction to its versatility, next-generation acousto-haptic technology, and unique approach to immersive gaming.
Kor-Fx debuted at the SXSW Gaming Expo earlier this year. It also just launched on crowd-funding site Kickstarter. In fact, Immerz's gaming vest has already garnered $41,929 in pledges...and the project only has a $75,000 goal. That means it has a good chance of succeeding, and early-backers are more than likely to get their hands on the vest later this year. Based on our brief demo, we can say they will surely be happy with the experience it provides.
At first blush, Kor-Fx reminds us of the Nintendo 64 rumble pak...but for your chest. Only, it doesn't rely on a spinning-inner-motor thing to output feedback to gamers. It relies on 4DFX, an acousto-haptic technology that produces high-definition environmental feedback. It not only allows you to feel explosions but will also thump - for instance - at the right side of your chest if that area has been hit by shrapnel in the video game. It'll do the same for bullets, etc.
In fact, during our brief demo, in which we played Call of Duty, we could feel every single bullet. Well, not really...but we could feel strong vibrations on our chest and wherever the bullets "hit" us. It was really cool.
When we told Immerz that the Kor-Fx reminded us of a Rumble Pak, it stressed that the vest is very different. Kor-FX uses audio and transducers to create "precise, directed haptic output" that echoes into your chest cavity. The Kor-Fx essentially puts you into the game, allowing you to feel onscreen action and various physical factors. The vest also works with every game's built-in audio.
But that's not all: it is compatible with practically any PC, mobile device, and console (must have a 3.5mm audio jack however). So you can immediately use the Kor-Fx with game titles like Counter-Strike: Source, Call of Duty, or Arma 3. And you'll definitely want to use it, because it's just that cool. The vest is somewhat lightweight too, so you won't be at all annoyed by its presence on your body. Immerze said you could use it when watching movies too.
The actual vest is made of a mesh-like and cushy material - and the entire form simply slides over the top of your head. There are adjustable straps along the side that allow you to get a specific and comfortable fit as well. On the front of the vest, there are various yellow buttons. The ones on the right side are for on/off, wireless connectivity, and frequency modes, while the left side has two yellow buttons for up-and-down volume.
The frequency button is probably the most neat because it enables you to adjust whether you want to hear low or high frequency better. Low frequency would include footsteps, for instance. This type of functionality can only improve as time goes on, according to Immerz. The company has a forthcoming Dev-Kit that'll give developers a chance to design games with different frequencies in mind.
You can pledge $135 today on Kickstarter to get a vest when it ships in September, or you can wait until later this year and pay about $150 when it officially releases. We recommend getting one either way.