As augmented reality and virtual reality continues to grow in usage all around the world, we are starting to see innovative companies develop new technologies that target our senses of touch, smell and taste for an even more immersive AR or VR experience.
One such company is TEGway, a ‘developer and manufacturer of flexible thermoelectric modules and systems… founded in 2014 as a spin-off of the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST)’.
TEGway’s first major project intended for consumers is ThermoReal, a flexible thermo-electric device (TED) capable of heating up and cooling down between 4 to 40 degrees Celsius in a matter of moments.
ThermoReal essentially acts as a temperature conduit for video game controllers and adds a greater level of realism to VR and AR applications by making the player feel hot, cold and even pain during relevant gameplay sections.
It offers six temperature and pain simulation levels:
- Sequential Warming
- Sequential Chilling
- Chill / Hot Moving
ThermoReal is something of a game changer in regards to immersive VR technology, as while other companies are developing haptic feedback devices that recreate the sense of touch TEGway is the only notable company exploring the thermal side of things.
While TEGway is currently marketing ThermoReal as a thermoelectric device for VR and AR video games, it does envision that the technology could one day be used in other industries such as the automobile, clothing, IoT / wearable, medical, and energy industries.
For instance, ThermoReal could be applied to a piece of clothing and used for heat therapy, or to harvest waste energy from automobiles and increase fuel efficiency.
While VR and AR are yet to see true mainstream adoption, it’s very likely that sensory technologies like ThermoReal will be an important part of their makeup when they do.