The HapSeat can mimic a multimillion-dollar full-motion flight simulator.
A real flight simulator will set you back a few million dollars, but the Inria research centre in France, along with Fabien Danieau from Technicolor, has come up with a clever idea to get the same sensation on the cheap.
New Scientist reported that the haptic chair, or HapSeat (PDF), uses a headrest and two armrests to provide some necessary sensation of pressure, while the "strong visuals" on the screen convince your mind to fill in the necessary blanks and provide an immersive sensation of motion.
The scientist wrote some clever simulation software to tie in with the game controls. As the New Scientist report said, the chair will:
Move the armrests up slightly to make you feel you are dropping — and vice versa. Moving one armrest more than the other, meanwhile, makes users feel they are rolling to one side. Push the headrest forward a tad, and you'll feel you've slowed down quickly — or pull it back a bit, and you'll feel your head is being dragged back by acceleration.
At the moment, the haptic chair is a bit of a jury-rigged beast, but the idea is to streamline the system into something that could be incorporated into a commercially available chair in the future.