It may not be immediately apparent what the Woojer 2.0 has to do with virtual reality. In essence the device is simply a wearable subwoofer. A battery powered speaker fundamentally not so different from other battery powered bluetooth speaker you can buy at every electronics shop these days.
Except the Woojer addresses one major limitation of modern personal audio that we don’t necessarily think about until it is pointed out” We don’t just use our ears to detect sound.
Sound is merely the transmission of kinetic force in the form of vibrations transmitted through a medium such as air. The air passes those vibrations to the sense organs inside the ear and is perceived as sound. Of course, some of those vibrations, especially low frequency ones, can be felt by your body as well. The thump of an explosion, or a slapped bass guitar is something you “hear” with your entire body. Even the best headphones can’t do this, they only feed low levels of sound energy directly into your ears.
Woojer is intended to be used in conjunction with your headphones to restore the haptic elements of sound without losing the benefits of personal audio: mobility and privacy.
It achieves this by using a “polyphonic transducer”, that sends inaudible vibrations directly into your body. Now, body worn woofers aren’t actually all that new. There have been rumble vests and other similar products before, but the Woojer is unique in how small it is. The actual device is only a small box worn on the body, no larger than some of the older model iPods.
This is great news for virtual reality immersion, since almost every virtual reality solution uses some form of headphone sound. So, while the visuals might be convincing, the tinny sound that you cannot feel may be less so. If the Woojer performs as advertised it could form an integral part of the immersion puzzle.
Prices have not yet been released, but Woojer is offering an “early bird” discount to those who sign up for its newsletter.