Feeling the rumble on a gaming controller is great for imparting some of the tactile sensations you’re supposed to feel in a game. However, you’re really just getting all that sensation on your hands, which severely limits the amount of immersion it can really impart. Same thing goes with Razer’s rumble headphones, which put those same sensations on the sides of your head. The Razor Project Esther looks to expand the scope of those haptic sensations by putting them on your gaming chair.
Billed as “the world’s first HD haptics gaming cushion,” Razer’s newest concept is a cushion that straps to your gaming chair and gives you access to its array of haptic actuators that deliver positional vibrations based on what’s happening in-game. No more getting hit by a barrage of bullets in an FPS and feeling it all hit in your hands – this thing will have you feeling all those weird sensations all throughout your body.
The Razer Project Esther is a cushion accessory that can be secured on the seat and backrest of your gaming chair, allowing you to feel its haptic sensations all throughout your torso and backside. It comes equipped with the outfit’s Razer Sensa HD Haptics, their new multi-directional haptic system that converts in-game audio to tactile haptics in real-time. That’s right, it takes sound from the game and immediately turns it into rumble vibrations that match the game sound’s intensity and directional position, allowing it to work not just with all games right off the bat, but also with movies, music, and any other content with included audio.
Of course, it’s programmable, too, so developers can tailor the haptic sensations to more closely coincide with in-game events, making it possible to impart direction, distance, and location for a variety of in-game events. It uses Interhaptics’ software platform for their technology, by the way, whose company Razer bought back in 2022, so they’re putting that novel haptic tech to good use.
The Razer Project Esther is fitted with 16 of these haptic actuators, each one positioned at a strategic location on the cushion to maximize the overall contact with your body. This allows them to easily localize the vibrations at separate body parts and even have them travel from one part to another, so devs can really have fun creating immersive tactile experiences. Granted, this will only be possible for games that will actively support the cushion, which could be tricky, considering how much time doing that will require, which, we’re guessing, is the main reason they added audio-to-haptics support, so that it will still work with any game, albeit in a sound-dependent manner.
A trio of straps (one on the backrest and two on the seat) are installed on the cushion, allowing you to secure them to your gaming chair in a way that will stay on, regardless of how much you move. Since this is, literally, just a cushion accessory, it should be compatible with most gaming chairs out there, regardless of make or model, which can help make it a more ubiquitous gaming accessory if they do decide to release it.
The Razer Project Esther is only a concept prototype the outfit is currently showing off at CES 2024.