VR Glove to Interact with Digital Objects in Video Games
Scientists at the Center for Intelligent & Interactive Robotics of the Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) have created a virtual reality glove that enables video gamers not only to immerse in the virtual realm, but also to catch the virtual objects and interact with them.
In their study published in the recent issue of the Scientific Reports journal, the researchers explained that the glove is embedded with sensors using piezoelectric technology materials that produce an electric charge when squeezed. A total of 11 sensors are placed on the thumb, index and middle fingers to produce a measurable electric pulse with every bend and flick.
Then, the software translates the pulses into commands for the virtual hand. The glove is also equipped with another technique, allowing bubbles found in the glove's fingertips to trick the user's hand into thinking it is touching, or holding something.
According to a report released by the Tech Xplore website on Saturday, the glove starts operating when the wearer moves a hand to pick up the object, and the finger movements are detected by sensors in the glove. Data from the sensors are transferred via Bluetooth to a software program that recreates corresponding movements of the virtual hand on a screen.
Taking hold of the virtual object activates a set of soft silicone actuators developed by the authors. The actuators receive a signal from the virtual reality environment, which causes air inside them to move and expand the silicone in their center. The user's fingertips sense the pressure of the expanded silicone as if they were touching the virtual object, allowing them to feel its shape.
According to the report, the new glove is lightweight. The entire device, including battery and circuit attached to strap around wrist weighs about the same as a medium-size apple.
Team leader Youngsu Cha said: "The glove was tested to interact with a virtual hand in a computerized chess and it proved efficient."
In the same report published by the Tech Xplore, Cha noted that: "This technology will be promising not only in making video games more realistic, but also in making virtual scientific experiments more informative."