Ultra-Light Gloves Let Users “Touch” Virtual Objects


Engineers and software application designers worldwide are looking for to produce technology that lets users touch, understand and control virtual objects, while seeming like they are really touching something in the real life.

Scientists at EPFL and ETH Zurich have actually simply made a significant action towards this objective with their brand-new haptic glove, which is not just light-weight– under 8 grams per finger– however likewise offers feedback that is very reasonable. The glove has the ability to create as much as 40 Newtons of holding force on each finger with simply 200 Volts and just a few milliWatts of power. It likewise has the possible to operate on a really little battery. That, together with the glove’s low type element (just 2 mm thick), equates into an extraordinary level of accuracy and liberty of motion.

“We wanted to develop a lightweight device that – unlike existing virtual-reality gloves – doesn’t require a bulky exoskeleton, pumps or very thick cables,” states Herbert Shea, head of EPFL’s SoftTransducers Laboratory (LMTS).

The researchers’ glove, called DextrES, has actually been effectively evaluated on volunteers in Zurich and has actually existed at the approaching ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology (UIST).

Fabric, metal strips and electrical power

DextrES is made from nylon with thin flexible metal strips running over the fingers. The strips are separated by a thin insulator. When the user’s fingers enter contact with a virtual things, the controller uses a voltage distinction in between the metal strips triggering them to stick by means of electrostatic destination– this produces a braking force that obstructs the finger’s or thumb’s motion. Once the voltage is eliminated, the metal strips move efficiently and the user can when again move his fingers easily.

Tricking your brain

For now the glove is powered by a really thin electrical cable television, however thanks to the low voltage and power needed, a really little battery might become utilized rather. “The system’s low power requirement is due to the fact that it doesn’t create a movement, but blocks one”, describesShea The scientists likewise require to carry out tests to see simply how carefully they need to mimic genuine conditions to offer users a reasonable experience. “The human sensory system is highly developed and highly complex. We have many different kinds of receptors at a very high density in the joints of our fingers and embedded in the skin. As a result, rendering realistic feedback when interacting with virtual objects is a very demanding problem and is currently unsolved. Our work goes one step in this direction, focusing particularly on kinesthetic feedback,” states Otmar Hilliges, head of the AdvancedInteractive Technologies Lab at ETH Zurich.

In this joint research study task, the hardware was established by EPFL at its Microcity school in Neuch âtel, and the virtual reality system was produced by ETH Zurich, which likewise performed the user tests.

“Our partnership with the EPFL lab is a very good match. It allows us to tackle some of the longstanding challenges in virtual reality at a pace and depth that would otherwise not be possible,” includes Hilliges.

The next action will be to scale up the gadget and use it to other parts of the body utilizing conductive material. “Gamers are currently the biggest market, but there are many other potential applications – especially in healthcare, such as for training surgeons. The technology could also be applied in augmented reality,” states Shea.

Source: EPFL

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