Meta Haptic Gloves Reach for the Metaverse
by Tech Mainstream
November 19, 2021
Meta Haptic Gloves Reach for the Metaverse, Screen Capture/Youtube/Meta
What are haptic gloves? Haptic gloves are "comfortable and customizable gloves that can reproduce a range of sensations in virtual worlds, including texture, pressure and vibration." The Meta Reality Labs Research teams goal is to create the technology to solve one of the challenges of the metaverse: How do we touch the virtual world?
"Imagine working on a virtual 3D puzzle with a friend’s realistic 3D avatar. As you pick up a virtual puzzle piece from the table, your fingers automatically stop moving as you feel it within your grasp. You feel the sharpness of the cardboard’s edges and the smoothness of its surface as you hold it up for closer inspection, followed by a satisfying snap as you fit it into place."
Haptic glove current breakthroughs:
"Perceptual Science: Because current technology can’t fully recreate the physics of the real world in VR, we’re exploring the idea of combining auditory, visual and haptic feedback for things like convincing a wearer’s perceptual system that it’s feeling an object’s weight.
Soft robotics: Existing mechanical actuators create too much heat for such a glove to be worn comfortably all day. To solve this, we’re creating new soft actuators — tiny, soft motors all over the glove that move in concert to deliver sensation to the wearer’s hand.
Microfluidics: We’re developing the world’s first high-speed microfluidic processor — a small microfluidic chip that controls the air flow that moves the actuators. The use of air (a fluid) means we can fit many more actuators on the glove than would otherwise be possible with electronic circuitry.
Hand tracking: Even with a way to control air flow, the system needs to know when and where to deliver the right sensations. We’re building advanced hand-tracking technology to enable it to identify precisely where your hand is in a virtual scene, whether you’re in contact with a virtual object and how your hand is interacting with the object.
Haptic rendering: Our haptic renderer sends precise instructions to the actuators on the hand, based on an understanding of things like the hand’s location and properties of the virtual objects (such as texture, weight and stiffness) that the hand comes in contact with."