Singapore researchers create glove with 'enhanced' virtual touch - ZDNet

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HaptGlove uses haptic feedback to heighten users' virtual experience. (Source: NUS)

Researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) make gloves that volition alteration users to much realistically acquisition the "feel" of objects successful virtual environments. Touting the instauration arsenic antithetic from existing technologies, they accidental the HaptGlove delivers real-time unit to fingertips and simulates the texture of objects. 

The mitt taps haptic feedback and pneumatic power that is embedded with the researchers' microfluidic sensing technology. This helps shrink the size and value of the glove, without the request for bulky accessories, according to the NUS team.

HaptGlove features 5 pairs of haptic feedback modules, 1 for each finger, that are controlled wirelessly to work the VR entity with regards to its shape, size, and texture. A microfluidic pneumatic indenter pushes real-time unit to the wearer's fingertips, enabling him to "sense" interaction erstwhile the avatar touches, grabs, and moves the VR object. The mitt further restricts the wearer's digit positions to simulate the signifier and texture of the object. 

The NUS researchers noted that portion haptic gloves were not new, products presently disposable successful the marketplace typically utilized vibration motors and did not supply a realistic consciousness of touch. For instance, they could not accurately simulate the signifier oregon hardness of a VR (virtual reality) object. 

Others that utilized pneumatic actuators to make a consciousness of pressure, but these were often bulky successful plan and restricted the user's movement.

"My acquisition with VR and the metaverse has ever been unsatisfactory," said Lim Chwee Teck, manager for NUS' Institute for Health Innovation and Technology, who leads the probe team. "VR should not beryllium conscionable astir a ocular and auditory experience; it should contiguous the quality to interact with VR objects. However, existent methods of pressing connected a virtual sheet oregon interacting with different avatar deficiency the sensation of interaction that we acquisition successful the existent world."

With the usage of bundle developed by the researchers, HaptGlove clocks a visual-haptic hold of little than 20 milliseconds, which NUS said is faster than accepted haptic gloves. Weighing astatine 250 grams, it besides is lighter than competing products successful the market, which measurement 450 grams. 

HaptGlove was archetypal conceptualised successful 2019 and a prototype was developed 2 years later, with 20 users roped successful to trial the product. 

The NUS researchers person filed for patent and are looking to commercialise the mitt wrong 2 years, with the purpose to bash truthful astatine fractional the terms of products presently sold successful the market, which typically outgo betwixt SG$5,000 ($3,786) and SG$20,000 ($15,145).

Efforts present are led by the university's spinoff portion Microtube Technologies, which focuses connected the improvement of sensing technologies for games and metaverse. 

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