As much as we like Oculus Touch Controllers interacting with virtual environments using buttons and joysticks will never feel totally immersive.
But based on Oculus' latest patented plans, Facebook's virtual reality division (VR) wants to increase tactile realism to 11.
In a pair of creepy but intriguing sound ] patents published today, Oculus is circulating its goal of creating a "skin tightening instrument" that will detect how much your skin moves when you pick up certain objects.
Let's say you pick an apple. The gears and rollers of his Oculus Rift haptic gloves will detect and measure the pressure levels in the palm and fingers, and a skin stretch sensor records the tactile response. Then, when the user takes a virtual apple, the gears of his gloves twist in consequence to simulate the same mechanical feedback.
The first patent specifies that each glove would have six stretchers for the skin, one on the palm and one on each tip of the finger, which can be moved in any direction X, Y or Z to simulate touch.
Oculus engineers appear to be optimistic about how realistic these comments will feel. Some examples of objects that users might pick up include a basketball, flower petals, a "Corgi puppy dog" and "various fruits like mangoes, peaches, grapes and strawberries".
While the first patent shows special care towards the realistic sensation of the fingers, the second patent covers how Oculus will make the whole hand feel the pressure of the objects.
Haptic feedback gloves will contain an expandable bladder that will adjust in size to simulate the pressure against users' hands while pressing them against objects or walls. The patent figures suggest that this pressure could be located in specific areas of the hand, such as the sides of the fingers or the skin between the fingers.
The first patent also specifies that this glove could work "in a virtual reality system, an AR system, mixed reality (MR), or some combination thereof."
We've heard rumors about augmented reality glasses from Facebook for some time, so this indicated that the Oculus haptic gloves could work for something other than the Oculus Rift and Oculus Go .
Feeling haptic competition
While Oculus is one of the biggest names working on haptic comments, it certainly is not the only one with ideas on how to simulate virtual reality touch.
Laboratory of Organic Robotics at Cornell University and Nvidia developed the Omnipulse gloves with a thin layer of rubber for sensitive feedback and airbags to replicate different textures.
And UC San Diego created haptic gloves with a muscle McKibben -which (like Oculus's adjustable bladder) is inflated and deflated to reproduce pressure and latex chambers that simulate different sensations in the user's fingers.
We'll have to wait and see what prototype ends up producing the most realistic feeling of skin tightening.
Via Digital trends