Virtual reality training is slowly becoming the new normal in various industries. When it comes to pilot training, however, it is evident there is a lack of haptic feedback. That situation is now coming to change, as pilots-in-training will not receive a sense of touch while immersed in virtual reality.
Enhancing VR Pilot Training
There are many different training exercises in virtual reality. Most of them don’t necessarily require any haptic feedback or sense of touch, albeit that would be useful to have regardless. When it comes to pilot training, however, a sense of touch is very much needed. Unfortunately, it seems there is no real solution on the market in this regard, albeit it seems things are changing fairly quickly.
Go Touch VR and FlyInside have come up with a very interesting solution in this regard. By actively providing haptic feedback to pilots in training, it becomes evident pretty quickly how these trainees will experience all of the “touch feelings” they would experience otherwise as of doing the regular training session in the real world. Providing this sensation to one’s hands and fingertips is a major breakthrough for pilots who hone their skills in virtual reality.
Go Touch VR CEO and co-founder Eric Vezzoli comments:
“You should only have to give a glance to button that you need to press during an operation, while all the rest of the action is confirmed by the touch sensation—the ‘click’ that you have from the virtual switch. Without that fundamental confirmation, you must look back and check if the action was performed, and spend precious time and attention that you need to dedicate to flying operations.”
Pilots training using this new system will need to wear three sensors on each hand. As the user applies pressure to their fingertips, they will experience stiffness of objects, rough textures, and even the sensation of physically holding objects. Anyone who has ever seen a plane’s cockpit from up close will know how different controls respond in different manners, with some requiring users to exert quite a bit of muscle power to use properly. Although this new hardware is not officially available on the market, Go Touch VR is looking to decrease their size prior to starting official production.
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