D-BOX, creators of some high-tech haptics, has partnered with the team at RSEAT for a new multipurpose ‘immersive experience’.
Revealed at the ADAC SimRacing Expo, Germany, the RSEAT HF-L4 functioning prototype looks, at first glance, like a conventional sim racing cockpit or rig.
But under the skin, things start to get interesting. It features the latest D-BOX G5 system for both motion and haptic feedback. In fact, the HF-L4 isn’t a cockpit at all, but a platform that can have a sim racing set-up placed on top or a sofa.
In order to pull off the multi-purpose base, unlike a conventional set-up, the G5 is pre-installed and mounted horizontally within the chassis. Usually, the haptic feedback actuators are visible on each other corner of a rig, vertically placed.
“It’s a multi-purpose platform that can be used for home entertainment, either in sim racing or to watch a movie,” said Stéphane Vidal, D-BOX’s Product and Brand Vice President, to Traxion.GG.
“This is the same experience that you normally get with D-BOX for both sim racing and theatrical, so it’s the first time that we develop one product for both markets.
“The same motion, same texture, same vibration, same experience exactly but the G5 actuators are not sitting vertically, but horizontally.”
In practice, on the NürnbergMesse, Nuremberg, demonstration unit, you cannot see the system at all, but it’s there alright and works in the same way you would expect.
That is to say, there is a very subtle movement that adds a sense of realism. You can feel kerbs and bumps in the asphalt. But, it’s not jolting you all over the shop or making you feel like you’re on a rollercoaster.
Driving a Mercedes-AMG GT4 around the Nürburgring Grand Prix in Assetto Corsa Competizione, there was a finessed approach that added natural-feeling sensations.
Once you’ve finished driving cars, the cockpit placed on top can be removed, a settee can be placed there instead, and more than 2,500 movies or shows that exist in the D-BOX PLUS viewing platform can be enjoyed.
“We first encode a movie, which takes between 80 and 120 hours,” said Vidal.
“To do that, we look at the movie frame by frame and consider its soundtrack. Then we add the motion to suit.”
“It then recognises, a bit like how Shazam recognises music, the movie from the audio and starts the haptic movement. It’s exactly the same technology used in theatres when you watch a D-BOX movie.
The HF-L4 sim racing and film platform is available to order now through RSEAT, is FIA licenced and is available in different lengths to suit differing environments. Pricing is upon application but starts from $7800 with four actuators.