Aura Interactor

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Aura Interactor Virtual Reality Game Wear
Aura-Interactor-force-feedback-vest.jpg
An Aura Interactor force-feedback vest on display
DeveloperAura Systems, Inc.
ManufacturerAura Systems, Inc.
TypeVideo game console peripheral
GenerationFourth generation
Release date
  • US: September 5, 1994
Introductory price$100
MediaInput device
Related articlesSNES, Sega Genesis, Sega CD

The Aura Interactor was a wearable force-feedback device developed by Aura Systems[1] that monitors an audio signal and uses Aura's patented electromagnetic actuator technology to convert bass sound waves into vibrations that can represent such actions as a punch or kick. It was compatible with the Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis and Sega CD consoles.[2] It is the first commercially available haptic suit,[3] released on September 5, 1994.

Development[edit]

Inspired by the movie theater sound system Sensurround, EOR technology developer Larry Shultz, then Aura's VP of Audio and Video Technologies, fantasized about what it would be like if a person could "feel" the video game, and not just hear it.[3] Shultz, along with Cipora Lavut and Jeff Bluen, led a dedicated team at Aura in inventing the Interactor.

Aura signed a deal with Acclaim to promote Mortal Kombat II. In addition to inclusion in Aura's $5,000,000 advertising campaign, Acclaim put Interactor cards in the Mortal Kombat II game boxes and Aura packed Acclaim information in its Interactor packaging. Also as part of the deal, Acclaim programmed special audio cues into the game code which would trigger responses from the Interactor.[4]

Aura also signed a deal with Williams Entertainment to do "strategic marketing" in relation to Williams's releases, Double Dragon V: The Shadow Falls and Troy Aikman NFL Football. Aura and Williams swapped the same kind of promotional opportunities that Aura and Acclaim did.[4]

Reception[edit]

The Interactor was successful, with more than 400,000 units sold. It received an "Innovation 94" Design and Engineering Award from the Electronics Industry Association.[5] Electronic Gaming Monthly commented, "For $100, the Interactor is a good value. It provides economy-sized virtual reality in a small package."[6] GamePro stated, "If droppin' a C-note is no bother to you, the Aura Interactor serves its purpose."[7] The device was found to work well with VR i-Glasses plugged in.[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Electronic vest adds a chest full of thrills to video games". Baltimore Sun. 27 August 1994. Retrieved 12 May 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ "Feel the Action!". Captron G&G Stores. 1994. p. 15.
  3. ^ a b "Best Virtual Reality Video Game Wear Technology Invention by Larry Shultz". www.larryshultz.com. Retrieved 2016-05-12.
  4. ^ a b "Aura in Kombat". GamePro. No. 64. International Data Group. November 1994. p. 275.
  5. ^ Proliferation Threats and Missile Defense Responses, United States. Congress. House. Committee On National Security. Subcommittee On Military., 1997.
  6. ^ "Aura's Interactor - VR at its Vest". Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 63. Ziff Davis. October 1994. pp. 56–60.
  7. ^ "GamePro Labs: A Player's Guide to Power Peripherals". GamePro. No. 63. IDG. October 1994. p. 162.
  8. ^ "Unreal Estate". Electronic Entertainment. No. 19. IDG. July 1995. p. 42.