There has been a notable demand for more immersion in virtual reality. Not just in terms of the environments, but primarily because of the lack of any haptic feedback. EPFL and ETH Zurich are currently working on a solution, which goes by the name of Dextres. These gloves provide the feedback users are looking for, while not impairing overall freedom.
Dextres can be a Major Development
Although there are numerous VR haptic glove products in development right now, there is no one solution which seems to be well ahead of the others. In the case of Dextres, it is evident the team is focusing on a few key aspects in an effort to get those right. First of all, the gloves are very lightweight, which makes them easy to put on and forget all about them.
Secondly, the gloves provide haptic feedback while not sacrificing on freedom of movement. Although the gloves are powered by an electrical cable, the entire system is low voltage and it is possible a battery-based version will come to market fairly soon. This latter approach would make these gloves more approachable and fun to use, as VR enthusiasts prefer an untethered experience at all times.
ETH Zurich’s Otmas Hilliges adds:
“The human sensory system is highly developed and highly complex. We have many different kinds of receptors at a very high density in the joints of our fingers and embedded in the skin. As a result, rendering realistic feedback when interacting with virtual objects is a very demanding problem and is currently unsolved. Our work goes one step in this direction, focusing particularly on kinesthetic feedback.”
With no bulky exoskeleton, pumps, or other gimmicks to contend with, Dextres is a big improvement in terms of haptic feedback for VR. However, the product is far from perfect, especially because of the concept still requires an electric cable first and foremost. If that problem can be resolved, and the product is deemed consumer-grade ready at an affordable price, things will get very interesting moving forward.
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