Virtual Reality

Hands Omni haptic glove lets gamers feel virtual objects

Hands Omni haptic glove lets g...
The Hands Omni haptic glove gives its wearer the sense that they're physically holding a virtual object (Photo: Jeff Fitlow/Rice University)
The Hands Omni haptic glove gives its wearer the sense that they're physically holding a virtual object (Photo: Jeff Fitlow/Rice University)
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Hands Omni co-creator Kevin Gravesmill demonstrates the glove at a design showcase (Photo: Jeff Fitlow/Rice University)
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Hands Omni co-creator Kevin Gravesmill demonstrates the glove at a design showcase (Photo: Jeff Fitlow/Rice University)
The Hands Omni haptic glove gives its wearer the sense that they're physically holding a virtual object (Photo: Jeff Fitlow/Rice University)
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The Hands Omni haptic glove gives its wearer the sense that they're physically holding a virtual object (Photo: Jeff Fitlow/Rice University)
The glove provides a sense of touch through bladders beneath the fingertips that expand and contract as required (Photo: Jeff Fitlow/Rice University)
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The glove provides a sense of touch through bladders beneath the fingertips that expand and contract as required (Photo: Jeff Fitlow/Rice University)
The Hands Omni being tested at Rice University’s Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen (Photo: Jeff Fitlow/Rice University)
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The Hands Omni being tested at Rice University’s Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen (Photo: Jeff Fitlow/Rice University)
The Hands Omni team from Rice University (Photo: Jeff Fitlow/Rice University)
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The Hands Omni team from Rice University (Photo: Jeff Fitlow/Rice University)
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While virtual reality has progressed leaps and bounds in the past few years, with motion-based inputs and a plethora of promising VR headsets close on the horizon, our ability to actually feel what we see in virtual worlds remains limited – especially in the consumer space. But a team of engineering students at Rice University is trying to solve this problem with a haptic glove that lets you feel virtual objects and environments like they're actually there.

The Hands Omni glove is being targeted at gamers, with VR-focused gaming technology company Virtuix – famous for the Virtuix Omni treadmill – sponsoring work to turn it into a commercial product.

Right now it's just a prototype, however. "What we’ve made is a glove that uses air to inflate bladders underneath your fingers," says mechanical engineering student Thor Walker. "So you can hook this up to a video game and when you reach out and grab a virtual object, it feels like you’re actually grabbing that object."

The glove provides a sense of touch through bladders beneath the fingertips that expand and contract as required (Photo: Jeff Fitlow/Rice University)
The glove provides a sense of touch through bladders beneath the fingertips that expand and contract as required (Photo: Jeff Fitlow/Rice University)

The glove fits on your right hand and works without any external wires or cables. It provides haptic feedback through bladders in the fingertips that expand and contract to give the sense that you're holding or touching an object. The ring and pinky fingers trigger pressure as one in the prototype, which is fairly consistent with their limited independence in the human hand, while the other fingers and thumb can receive separate signals.

The Hands Omni glove weighs around 350 g (12 oz), which its creators say makes it light enough to be comfortable on your hand even for long sessions. "The user will hardly know it's there," says team member Kevin Koch.

It's not yet ready for the public, though. Walker compares the current state of the project to Google Cardboard – it works, but it needs further development before it's ready to sell to a general consumer audience.

You can see a video of the glove in action below.

Source: Rice University

Rice engineers develop hands-on feedback for virtual gaming

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2 comments
Kuniva
You just know there are going to be sex suits in the future.
ХаратинДмитрий
Hello!Highly I recommend to do analogue of the glove, but with the use of magnetic membranes. This will reduce the size of the gloves, weight, and it will be easier to program without such a cumbersome unit (to connect directly via USB-port and adapted special program). And on the vacant place you can think of other innovations.I wish you luck! Thank you!