Bifrost Pulse VR glove could bring haptic feedback into much wider use
While there are already haptic feedback VR gloves that provide a simulated sense of touch to users, they typically cost at least a few thousand dollars. The Pulse glove is aimed at making the technology more accessible, in that it's priced at just US$299.
Currently the subject of an Indiegogo campaign, the Pulse was invented by Colorado-based entrepreneur Sam Baker. It's being developed via his tech startup, Bifrost.
Sensors within the glove are reportedly able to track the movements and position of the hand to within less than one millimeter. As the user grasps a virtual object, the glove's actuators apply varying amounts of tension to each finger, simulating the size, shape and flexibility of the item.
Likewise, if the user reaches out to touch a virtual hard surface such as a wall, the actuators produce the resistance that the wearer would feel upon doing so. Additionally, the texture of different virtual surfaces is simulated via vibrations in each of the glove's finger cups.
The current prototype is claimed to weigh just 5 oz (142 g) and unlike many existing haptic feedback gloves, it does not require the use of any external movement-tracking hardware. It's also designed specifically with gaming in mind, whereas others are aimed more at enterprise usage.
The Bifrost Pulse is presently being offered in the form a developer kit that includes a set of two gloves – assuming it reaches production, a pledge of $299 will get you a package. It is hoped that game developers can then integrate the technology into their software, resulting in a multitude of games in which the glove can be used by everyday buyers.
The Pulse's functionality is demonstrated in the following video.
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