Wireless Haptic Vest Creates Immersive Experiences for Virtual Reality

By Trish Messiter


March 15, 2024


Image Credit: Clarinox

A wireless haptic vest from Actronika creates an immersive sensory experience for the wearer. Touch produces vibrations that people use to understand the nature of an object they interact with. The company’s haptic technology uses vibrations to create tactile illusions that people interpret as touch—from the pitter-patter of raindrops to the reverberation of an explosion. Wireless connectivity to the vest increases ease of use and enhances the visceral, tactile experiences created by game developers, training professionals, and artists.


When Actronika wanted to transform the VR gaming industry by introducing an innovative haptic vest called Skinetic, a challenge lay in ensuring seamless wireless connectivity between the vest and the VR system to minimize latency. The lag would compromise realism, so the company needed a high-speed, real-time solution that was also small, power-efficient, flexible, scalable, secure—and capable of transferring massive amounts of data.

Recognizing the role of wireless connectivity in achieving its product goals, Actronika embarked on a collaboration with Clarinox, a leading provider of wireless connectivity products for embedded systems across many industries—from patient monitoring to sports intercom headsets and from in-vehicle infotainment to satellite connectivity. This strategic decision alleviated the time-consuming task of merging separate wireless stacks and enabled the engineers at Actronika to focus on their core technology.

For Clarinox engineers, the initial challenge revolved around hardware limitations, particularly constrained RAM. The amount available for a simultaneous Bluetooth and Wi-Fi system was significantly smaller than what they had previously worked with.


Clarinox created a high-performance wireless connectivity solution for the Skinetic vest through a combination of Bluetooth and Wi-Fi technologies. The ClarinoxBlue and ClarinoxWiFi protocol stacks served as the backbone of the solution to achieve smooth and reliable connectivity. The vest runs on an NXP i.MX RT1050 chipset featuring 512 KB of SRAM in conjunction with an NXP 88W8977 Wi-Fi/Bluetooth system-on-chip (SoC).

To get around the RAM limitations two steps were taken, firstly a less memory hungry, previous version of the NXP radio chipset driver was employed. The second step involved a shift from the previous cryptographic library to a more streamlined alternative, enhancing the WPA3 encryption implementation. This allowed Clarinox engineers to skillfully deliver all requested functionalities while overcoming memory limitations in a final package size of 168 KB, rather than the more standard 500 KB plus.

Modular design simplifies wireless complexity

The modular design of Clarinox solutions streamlined an otherwise complex integration process. The use of Clarinox SoftFrame abstraction-layer middleware ensured fast adaptation to the Actronika embedded platform. In addition, The ClariFi embedded wireless debugger, provided protocol analyzer support for faster debugging of complex wireless devices. Together these tools enabled Actronika to swiftly resolve issues and optimize their Skinetic vest.

“Our collaboration with Clarinox was instrumental in our tech journey. Their seamless code integration and unwavering support streamlined our development processes remarkably. Using ClariFi made debugging an efficient task, enabling us to navigate the complexities of Bluetooth and Wi-Fi,” said Hugo Bouchard, the software team lead at Actronika.

Expert support speeds up product development

Throughout the product life cycle, Clarinox provided Actronika with valuable technical support, including customized solutions and debugging tools that enabled Actronika to swiftly resolve issues and optimize its wireless-enabled devices. The collaboration shortened development timelines and improved product performance and reliability.

“Our partnership with Clarinox was a game-changer. Not only did it save us valuable time, but their unwavering dedication to exceptional customer service truly set a new standard. Their team's enthusiasm for innovation and the future of our industry is infectious, and we're excited to continue pushing boundaries together,” said Gilles Meyer, CEO of Actronika.


Actronika built a groundbreaking wireless haptic vest that elevates the virtual reality experience with robust wireless connectivity provided by Clarinox. The partnership shows how multiple technology stacks, skillsets, and innovations can come together to sculpt new user experiences that capture the imagination.

Trish Messiter completed her Bachelor of Engineering at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Sydney, Australia. She has extensive experience in research, engineering design, sales, marketing, and software technical support, and has been involved in businesses from start-ups through to corporate environments. Trish has co-authored academic works on embedded systems in conjunction with RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia.

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