Singapore researchers create VR glove with realistic touch

National University of Singapore (NUS) researchers have created a virtual reality (VR) glove– HaptGlove– that will level up users’ experience in the metaverse with a more realistic sense of touch.

The VR glove is an “untethered and lightweight haptic glove that provides users with both skin-like and movement sensations when interacting with a virtual object,” the NUS team said in a blogpost on Tuesday.

Even though the concept of haptic gloves is not new, the existing technologies are not able to give users a realistic sense of touch.

“VR should not be just about a visual and auditory experience, it should present the ability to interact with VR objects. However, current methods of pressing on a virtual panel or interacting with another avatar lack the sensation of touch that we experience in the real world,” said Professor Lim Chwee Teck, director of the Institute for Health Innovation & Technology (iHealthtech) and leader of the research team.

“This prompted me to work with my team to develop a haptic glove to enable ‘physical’ touch in the virtual world,” Teck added.

The new VR glove is likely to be a portable and flexible haptic glove which will allow users to have immersive touch and feel of VR objects with unparalleled realism in the VR experience.

“The HaptGlove’s unique design allows users to interact with the virtual world more naturally and realistically, which would give users unobtrusive recreational or competitive sensation in VR,” Teck said.

HaptGlove has five pairs of haptic feedback modules, one for each finger, which are controlled wirelessly to sense the VR object in terms of shape, size and stiffness.

“Besides gaming, the HaptGlove has useful applications in the fields of medicine and education, such as assisting surgeons to better prepare for an operation by simulating a hyper-realistic environment, or giving students a hands-on learning experience by simulating palpation on different body parts,” the NUS team said.

The researchers have filed a patent for their design and aim to commercialise the glove within two years.

20230118-163003

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