One of the more interesting products I got to test at CES was a pair of VR sneakers from Japanese gadget-maker Cerevo. The Taclim VR system consists of a pair of sneakers and gloves that are designed to give you a more immersive virtual experience.
The sneakers use haptic feedback to simulate different surfaces that you're walking over. The demo I tried attempted to simulate walking on sand, wood and through water. The device was just a prototype, but it gave a glimpse at the future of VR. Perhaps one day we will all be wearing entire VR suits. Maybe.
Taclim also allowed me to kick and punch my way through a horde of virtual monsters, but the experience isn't perfect. I had to awkwardly walk in place to travel through the world and was told not to kick too hard to prevent the shoes from falling off.
Some of the simulated surfaces worked quite well and others didn't. There was a poison puddle that zapped my feet and another that actually felt like I had just stepped in a real puddle, but some of the surfaces just didn't resonate with me. The wood and sand surfaces, for example, just sent random vibrations to my feet that was more annoying than immersive.
The Taclim VR system is open source and runs on the Unity plug-in, which allows developers to integrate them into their games. The company said the system will arrive later this year for between $1,000 and $1,500.