Virtual Reality

Dexmo exoskeleton-for-the-hand gives computer interfacing the finger(s)

Dexmo exoskeleton-for-the-hand...
The Dexmo Classic (left) and F2
The Dexmo Classic (left) and F2
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The Dexmo Classic (left) and F2
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The Dexmo Classic (left) and F2
Both models are wireless, communicating with the user's computer via Bluetooth
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Both models are wireless, communicating with the user's computer via Bluetooth
The Dexmo F2 adds force feedback to the equation
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The Dexmo F2 adds force feedback to the equation

What happens when you're immersed in a virtual world – such as a game – and you want to use your real-world fingers to control your virtual fingers in that world? Well, we've already seen a number of sensor-equipped gloves, but China's Dexta Robotics is taking what it claims is a more cost-effective approach. Its Dexmo is an exoskeleton for your hand, which can even provide the user with a limited sense of touch.

The base model, the Dexmo Classic, utilizes relatively inexpensive rotational sensors to capture the movements of your hand in 11 degrees of freedom. This includes the rotation of the thumb, the bending of the individual fingers, and the degree to which they split apart from one another. It also uses a single IMU (inertial measurement unit) to track the hand's movement through space on X, Y and Z axes.

With this version, users can do things like manipulating the individual fingers of on-screen avatars, creating animated hand models, controlling real-world robotic devices or software using finger gestures, or even translating American Sign Language gestures to text.

The Dexmo F2 adds force feedback to the equation
The Dexmo F2 adds force feedback to the equation

The Dexmo F2, however, adds force feedback to the equation. It does so via actuator-controlled disc brakes in the device's individual finger joints, which physically keep one or more of the user's real fingers from moving when the corresponding virtual fingers come up against a virtual object.

This feature allows users to get the sensation of actually pressing or holding onto computer-generated items, although it does only work in an on/off fashion – either the joints move freely, or not at all.

Both models are wireless, communicating with the user's computer via Bluetooth.

They're also both currently the subject of a Kickstarter campaign, aimed at raising production funds. A pledge of US$65 will get you a development kit that includes a Dexmo Classic, while $159 is required for a kit with an F2. Assuming all goes according to plans, shipping is scheduled for next June.

You can see the two Dexmo exoskeletons in use, in the following pitch video.

Sources: Dexta Robotics, Kickstarter

3 comments
zevulon
the crazy irony of this is , if i recall propertly, the original occulus was only on kickstarter 2 years ago asking for 1 million dollars. they got bought for 2 billion by fakebook and now dexmo is asking 200k for building an accesory. this is either an accelerating tidal wave of productivity or something else like a bunch of money getting tossed at VR without VR really coming to fruition anytime in the next 20 years. ......seems like the former. but plenty of money will seemingly be wasted along the way. ......
EddieG
When NASA conceptualized the space station in the 80s, a glove like this was developed. This eventually became the Nintendo Power Glove. The idea has been around for 30 years, although it has yet to be put to good use. Everything old is new.
Expanded Viewpoint
Back in the early 80s, there was a promo for some TV show on a PBS station, I think it was called Next Step, but it might have been The Discovery Channel. Anyways, there was about a 2 second long clip of a man moving his fingers, dragging them on some surface, and a mechanical hand was mimicking his movements. I never saw the program that clip was taken from like most of the other clips in the ad, but it was really cool to see a sort of Terminator like hand moving like that. And that was before Ahhnold was chasing down women to liquidate! Randy