Intro - 0:01
Unboxing - 0:54
Setup - 8:45
First Impressions - 12:35
Gaming Connection Cable Kit - 14:24
VR Game Testing ( Onward ) - 16:45
VR Motion Simulator Game Testing ( No Limits 2 ) - 23:12
Final Thoughts - 25:08
Today I am taking a look at the DropLabs EP 01 Haptic shoes to see if they might be something cool that could enhance VR gaming. Lately there has been a lot of buzz in the VR community, full pun intended, about haptics and full body immersion so I wanted to see if these shoes might be another step towards achieving that.
Thanks to bHaptics I already have most of my body covered with the gear they sent me which has the chest and back, arms and hands and even the face covered and I think they might have something for the feet as well but it wasn’t included in the kit they sent. So now I could feel sensations in my upper body but what about my feet and legs? Well, after seeing a few Instagram posts about the DropLabs shoes I was curious to see if this might be the missing link and after reaching out to the company they were more than generous and decided to send me a pair for evaluation.
I have to say this was a really interesting sensation and one that I never thought I wanted until I felt it… When the shoes were synced up with the VR games I tested them in I can definitely say there was a bump in my enjoyment factor and level of immersion, but that came with a tradeoff… These shoes are not targeted haptics so in essence they are like strapping a couple of independent bass transducers to your feet. While the effect was really cool especially for listening to music and for watching movies, when it came to gaming certain sounds that normally wouldn’t be felt through the floor such as gunshots were felt very strongly.
Another slight drawback is that currently to use the shoes for gaming connected to a VR headset it requires a wired connection. This actually wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be and admittedly does help to reduce latency since this has always been a problem with Bluetooth devices in the past so I will give DropLabs a pass here since obviously these shoe were not designed with Virtual Reality as the primary use case. DropLabs is aware of this limitation and is currently working on a new wireless dongle for the shoes which should allow players to finally ditch the wires.
I guess overall, even though some of the haptic effects didn’t feel 100% natural I still enjoyed the feeling of having them come through the shoes and I will admit that I have found myself reaching for the shoes more often now when I’m gaming! The EP 01’s add enough immersion to where the limitation of being a “Dumb haptic” device are easily forgotten!
I can only imagine technologies like this getting better over time to finally deliver that Ready Player One OASIS like experience that we are all waiting for… I can see now that In future iterations of tech like this, using more transducers and having the ability to target the haptics to what the player is seeing and hearing on screen will really help to unlock a much deeper layer of immersion in VR games!
If you would like to learn more about the DropLabs EP 01 Haptic shoes or to make a purchase please head to the link below… It really helps me out if you use this link and don’t forget to use code :vrgamerdude when ordering to get a free gaming cable kit with purchase of the shoes (MSRP $25)! -)
Promo Code: vrgamerdude