Skip to main content

Microsoft patent could make playing ‘NBA 2K18’ in VR feel more realistic

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Microsoft’s patent for an augmented and virtual reality accessory could make interacting with the virtual world feel more realistic by giving users more tactile feedback in the real world. The patent for a device called an electrostatic side clutch was originally filed in 2017 and was recently only publicly published by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The side clutch, which Microsoft illustrated as an arm-worn accessory with haptic feedback motors, allows users to feel resistance when interacting in a virtual environment.

“While mixed reality and virtual reality systems may provide an immersive visual and auditory experience, such systems may not provide a satisfying tactile experience for the user, in which virtual objects feel like real objects,” Microsoft said, noting that its electrostatic side clutches “may be used for tactile feedback in mixed reality and virtual reality settings.”

If you’re playing a basketball game, for example, wearing the side clutch device on your wrist could allow the game to mimic drag as you’re attempting to make a free throw shot in NBA 2K18. “In particular, haptic device may be configured to provide resistive contact sensation in response to detection of contact between the body of the user in a virtual display object projected into a field of view,” Microsoft wrote in its patent filing. Potentially, the system could even allow you to feel if you’ve been illegally hand-checked in a game of virtual hoops.

In addition to the arm sleeve, a glove may also be worn to replicate the real-world resistive sensation. Microsoft detailed different configurations for how its side clutch, sleeves, and gloves would work, but in essence, the side clutch is coupled to the headset to allow the device to apply the resistive force at the appropriate time in VR or AR gameplay. The electrodes are placed on regions of the body that could move, like your hands, arms, or legs.

Since Microsoft officially entered the mixed reality space with the debut of HoloLens, it has been researching different ways users could interact with the virtual environments. A recent Microsoft patent hinted at using a wand to control the virtual world, and the company showed off some of its work in the augmented reality space at its Build developer conference.

Editors' Recommendations

Chuong Nguyen
Silicon Valley-based technology reporter and Giants baseball fan who splits his time between Northern California and Southern…
Apple’s first VR headset could have dual 8K displays and an eye-watering price
A woman reaching out while wearing a VR headset.

Apple’s interest in augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) is well-known, as evidenced by a recent report that it is working on a VR headset that might also offer AR capabilities. A new report from The Information has now given us a rumored price for the device, and at $3,000, it sure ain’t cheap. That is less than the $3,500 Microsoft HoloLens 2, but its price hardly makes it a consumer-friendly gadget.

If you are interested in this premium headset, what will you get for your (considerable) outlay? Well, the device will pack in dual 8K displays, giving an eye-poppingly good experience for your grateful peepers. By way of comparison, the HTC Vive Cosmos Elite has a resolution of a “mere” 2880 x 1700 pixels. Apple is pulling no punches here.

Read more
Microsoft Flight Simulator latest mode doesn’t take full advantage of VR’s potential
A plane landing at sunset.

I still remember my first plane ride. It was a two-hour journey from the U.K. to Menorca, one of Spain’s Balearic Islands, for a family holiday. The entire trip was a profoundly new experience for a then-six-year-old me that created sun-soaked memories to last a lifetime. Yet, for my parents, the one memory that gets called back the most is my childish mispronunciation of “turbulence” when my then short, short life flashed before my eyes on the way there.

For many, their first trip up in the skies would be the ideal route to retread for a Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 maiden voyage. I instead opted for a blissfully uneconomical eight-minute cruise from my hometown of Manchester to the neighboring city of Liverpool to the west. I wasn’t expecting to make it off the ground, and while I did, the experience gave me a crash course in how VR both helps and hinders the experience in a way only emerging tech can.

Read more
HP’s Reverb G2 Omnicept Edition is a VR headset that knows when your pulse is up
hp introduces reverb g2 omnicept edition

HP is launching a new commercial virtual reality headset, the Reverb G2 Omnicept Edition. The headset is part of the new "HP Omnicept Solution" and is packed full of new sensors for developers and businesses to leverage and create experiences for training, wellbeing, creation, and collaboration.

Coming in spring 2021 for developer and enterprise users, the new headset's design and internals are quite similar to the original HP Reverb G2, which was called the world’s highest-resolution VR headset.

Read more