On May 1st,media reported that virtual reality (VR) technology had emerged, but it was not as good as it should be. The most important thing is that while today’s VR systems can already create immersive visual experiences, they do not satisfy all of our sensory experiences, such as the vital touch.
However, that seems to change soon. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University in the United States have developed a new device that allows people to experience touching obstacles and heavy objects by tying multiple strings (strings) to their hands.
The device, called WiReality, is a prototype of a wearable VR haptic system that uses a fixed retractable string to accurately lock the joints in the hands in 3D space. This makes it possible to create physical interactions with objects such as walls, furniture, and handrails.
How WiReality works is this: Suppose you put on a VR headand and are near a wall. When your hand is close to the wall, this mechanism locks the strings on the device, and you immediately feel you’re really touching the wall when your hand is actually just waving in the air.
In addition, the strings allow people to feel the contours of the virtual sculpture and feel resistance as they push the object. You can even clap with virtual characters, which means your hands will never hang.
The team used spring-loaded tractors that resembled tractors on keychains or ID badges, and the springs kept the strings tight thanks to the addition of a ratchet mechanism. With this system, the device ratchets are engaged sequentially whenever the user approaches the virtual fence. When a person takes back his hand, the strings relax.
This gives WiReality a lot of advantages because the spring-controlled strings lose weight, consume very little battery power, and keep costs low. The entire device weighs about 280 grams and is quite cheap, and according to the researchers, the mass-produced version could cost less than $50.
Such a device can be useful in VR games and experiences involving interactionwith with physical objects such as mazes and virtual museums. Such a technology could even change the rules of the game in some areas in the blockade caused by the outbreak of the new coronavirus.