New Gloves Could Let You Feel In Virtual Reality

Rice University
Josh Davis 30 Apr 2015, 15:01

Gaming might be about to become a lot more hands on. With most major gaming companies focusing on the sights and sounds of virtual reality (VR), a group of mechanical engineering students at Rice University have instead turned their attention to touch. They’ve managed to produce a prototype VR glove that makes it seem like you’re actually feeling objects in the game.

Haptic gloves aren’t new technology, but whilst most systems rely on vibration to tell the brain that a virtual object has been touched, the students decided to go with pressure. The glove works by hiding a network of bladders within the glove, which inflate with air when you touch something in the game. This then provides feedback to the fingertips, telling your brain that you’ve touched or grabbed an item.   

Developed in association with Virtuix, the Hands Omni glove is currently in the prototype stage. The team have only made one and the secrets to its internal workings are strictly under wraps. Designed to be as unobtrusive as possible, the entire glove weighs in at around 350 grams (0.7 lbs), which the developers say is light enough to keep the player from noticing it. They specifically made the glove wireless to allow the player a full range of motion without having to worry about cables.  

So it seems the gloves may be firmly on in the fight for the next big development in virtual reality. Watch the glove in action below.   

 

 

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