Currently, we experience VR largely through sight and sound, while remaining stationary in physical space. Hardware development is focused on increasing immersion with things such as haptic technology and ways to move in the Metaverse without hitting physical surroundings.
Ekto VR is a morotized boots company. The cyberpunk-ish boots will let you walk in the Metaverse without moving forward in physical space. It solves VR’s infinite walking problem where in VR you see clear space ahead but then you bump into your living room wall. The Virtuix Omni that debuted in 2014 also aims to solve the walking problem with an omnidirectional treadmill.
bHaptics developed haptic technology such as the “TactGlove” and “TactSuit” which add a sense of touch to the Metaverse. Getting hit with objects or running your hand over an object in VR while wearing these items will let you feel the virtual objects as well.
OVR Technology is developing olfactory technology for VR experiences. The OVR scent device gets added to a VR headset and releases smells that match with your virtual surroundings. Their areas of interest at the moment are VR scent therapy with nature smells and enhanced training for high-risk industries like defense or oil & gas.
Finally, a technology that’s already seen in some forms with virtual hands is body tracking. It’s jarring when your body in virtual reality isn’t doing what your physical body is doing. The Meta Quest 3 could potentially have full-body tracking, as Meta locked down a patent that involved tracking a user’s entire body in the Metaverse. HTC Vive also has accessories for body tracking that attaches to different points of your body. Privacy advocates note that the company hasn’t added privacy protocols into this tech.