Virtual reality is one of the most exciting trends in consumer technology today — so much so, Digital Trends awarded the HTC Vive VR headset Product of the Year in 2016. There are plenty of cool games and applications in the VR space already, but the technology is still in its infancy, as developers and artists try to figure out the best way to craft immersive experiences. One big problem for VR is that, while it can use sight and sound to create 3D environments, other senses, like touch, are not as developed. The makers of the Sense Glove aim to change that, with a device that lets users feel their interactions with virtual objects.
The Sense Glove resembles a large, skeletal hand into which the users slides their own, while also fastening attachments to their fingers. CEO Gijs den Butter explained how it works.
“So basically, Sense Glove enables touch in virtual reality,” den Butter said. “It does it with force feedback, so you actually are restricted when you’re trying to grasp an object, and with haptic feedback, so you get a little tactile sensation when for example you’re touching hard or slippery objects.”
It’s a tantalizing prospect for game designers looking to develop more visceral VR experiences, but den Butter is focused on satisfying needs of a more mundane variety.
“We use it mainly, currently for B2B (business-to-business) training purposes. So you have to think of training workers on an assembly line. It’s really expensive to hold an assembly line just for training purposes, but in VR you can build it as real as possible, and with our Sense Glove, the interaction with the virtual objects are just as if touching real objects, almost.”
The Sense Glove is a remarkable advancement over the typical controllers bundled with VR headsets, with may track the movement of the user’s hands, but don’t offer any real sense of touch beyond rumbling.
Consumers hoping to acquire a Sense Glove may need to wait a bit. The device is still in the prototype stage. Den Butter plans to have a development kit out in June 2018. Those kits are currently available for pre-order.