Humans have five senses. Sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch. The ultimate goal of virtual reality is to mimic these sensations in a way that totally immerses the user into the world he has inserted himself.
Dexta Robotics has been working tirelessly for some time to help solve one of these issues. The company has been working on a way to solve how VR users can experience the sensation of touch in a virtual world. Whilst other virtual reality hardware includes controllers, there is not any actual feeling that is sent to the hand from interacting with a virtual object.
Dexta has come up with a solution.
The company has developed a glove that acts as a kind of “exoskeleton” for the user. It mimics the movements of the hand and fingers down to each minute detail. The device and the avatar in the game communicate with one another to relay information about the hand’s movement as well as what is being grabbed.
To understand how this works, we must first understand what touch means to us.
Touch can be a whole manner of things, from soft, hard, grainy, smooth, hot, or cold. The area of touch that the glove focuses on is resistance. Typically, when we think of touching an object, we do not think about the resistance of that object in our hand, however this is a key part of our ability to feel objects.
Pick up a pen. You might note that it feels smooth or slightly cold if it is metal. But you also are aware that you are holding something in between your fingers. You can feel something there. This is resistance.
While Dexta has not yet managed to incorporate smooth and furry touch sensations, they have been able to make a hand that allows you to feel resistance.
In a virtual world, you go to pick up a ball, and you feel your hand slide around the ball, unable to close your hand all the way because there is something in it. While this may sound simplistic, it is one small detail that further immerses the user into the VR world.
In a test, Dexta Robotics found that users of VR preferred their hand exoskeleton to the Oculus Rift hand controllers almost one-hundred percent of the time!
Dexta Robotics has not yet come out with a release date or price for this magnificent piece of equipment, but VR enthusiasts wait patiently until they can wrap it around their hands.
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