A team of Russian engineers have created a glove that conveys the feeling of contact with objects in virtual reality. It consists of a delta robot, allowing you to simulate the touch to the palm, and vibrators at the ends of the fingers. The development will be presented at the SIGGRAPH Asia 2019 conference.
In the field of VR devices, one of the key problems remains unresolved – a realistic imitation of physical contact with virtual objects. Serial devices tend to simulate touch by the vibration of controllers, but this method is not realistic. But engineers are experimenting with a host of other designs and techniques.
The most common method among such devices is to restrain finger movements with a VR glove, which allows you to create a feeling of compression of an object in your hand. However, this method is well suited only for compression but is unable to convey the sensation of touching various parts of the brush. Daria Trinitatova and Dzmitry Tsetserukou of the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology have created a hand-worn device that can act on the ends of the fingers, as well as on the palm.
The device consists of two main parts. In the palm of your hand is a delta robot – a design often used in robotics and industrial equipment. It consists of three levers with electric motors connected together. It is designed in such a way that its end can be moved anywhere in the work area. At the end of the delta robot, a vibration motor is installed, closed with a silicone tip.
In addition, five more vibrators are fixed at the ends of the fingers. This allows the user’s palm and fingers to be stimulated during the use of virtual reality. Developers have created several demo applications for the glove. For example, they taught her to simulate the movements of a small spider in the palm of her hand and also showed that the glove is capable of transmitting the sensations of throwing a virtual ball.
Many other devices with unusual designs were previously proposed to simulate physical contact in virtual reality. For example, for this, engineers created a cube with propellers that resist hand movement, a jacket with inflatable segments that simulate blows, and a VR helmet that stretches the skin of the face to simulate inertia.
There is also another approach, in which engineers create devices that act on the body not through pressure, but through electrical stimulation.