This glove uses air to let you feel digital objects in virtual reality

this glove uses air to let you feel digital objects in virtual reality hands omni vr touch rice university
While virtual reality (VR) is an immensely promising technology, the industry has yet to overcome its biggest usage hurdle: the so-called input problem. Most VR games right now rely on conventional control mechanisms for navigation and interaction, but while keys and joysticks may be well-suited to most mediums, they aren’t quite capable of the versatility VR demands. In fully immersive environments like the ones made possible by new headsets, wanting to touch — to reach out and manipulate things with your hands — is a natural inclination. That’s not yet feasible with commercially available tech, but students at Rice University are trying their hands at the problem, so to speak, with a solution all their own.

Hands Omni is a glove that lets the wearer “feel” objects in virtual reality. This is achieved with tiny inflatable pockets located underneath the surface of each finger, which act a little like air-based bladders: when a user grasps at a computerized object, triggers around the fingertips cause the pockets to pressurize, providing physical feedback. “When you reach out and grab a virtual object, it feels like you’re grabbing that object,” mechanical engineering student Thor Walker told Gizmag

The electronic glove, which functions without cables or wires, is still in the prototype phase — it weighs 350 ounces and must be wirelessly tethered to a computer to work. Still, the current Hands Omni impressed virtual reality peripheral maker Virtuix enough to earn a sponsorship from the company, which Walker says will be used to further development.

Commercialization seems at least a few months off, but that’ll give the engineers time to fine-tune support for upcoming headsets from Facebook, HTC, and others. The team’s keeping a number of details under wraps for now, as per the terms of their agreement with Virtuix. But rest assured that we’ll learn more if Hands Omni tech ever makes it into a consumer product.

Emerging Tech

The U.S. Army is building a giant VR battlefield to train soldiers virtually

Imagine if the U.S. Army was able to rehearse battlezone scenarios dozens, or even hundreds, or times before settling foot on actual terrain. Thanks to virtual reality, that's now a possibility.
Virtual Reality

HTC’s stand-alone Vive Focus Plus will be out in April, and it won’t be cheap

The HTC Vive Focus Plus is set to release on April 15 to commercial businesses and developers. The stand-alone headset features the "six degrees of freedom" system, and includes hazard-tracking protection.
Gaming

PlayStation’s first State of Play event includes Iron Man VR announcement

Sony held the first PlayStation State of Play video presentation on March 25 and it featured the announcement of Iron Man VR for PlayStation VR. The game is scheduled to arrive this year.
Product Review

Nintendo’s Labo VR Kit may look silly, but it really works

During our hands-on with the Nintendo Labo VR Kit, fears of a gimmicky product from Nintendo were quickly dispelled. While not a direct competitor to Oculus or HTCs own headsets, Labo VR brings a clever, new way to experience VR that makes…
Emerging Tech

NASA’s Mars 2020 rover passes its tests with flying colors

The Mars 2020 rover team has been undertaking a series of tests to see if the craft will be able to launch, navigate, and land on the Red Planet. Called Systems Test 1, or ST1, these tests represent the first test drive of the new rover.
Outdoors

Light up the night! Here are the five best headlamps money can buy

Headlamps make all the difference when camping or walking the dog at night, especially when you're in need of both hands. From Petzl to Tikkid, here are some of the best headlamps on the market.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Robotic companions and computer-aided karaoke

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it's fun to gawk!
Emerging Tech

A hive of activity: Using honeybees to measure urban pollution

According to a new study from Vancouver, bees could help us understand urban pollution. Scientists have found an innovative way to measure the level of source of pollution in urban environments: by analyzing honey.
Emerging Tech

Spacewalk a success as astronauts upgrade batteries on the ISS

The International Space Station was treated to some new batteries on Friday, thanks to two NASA astronauts who took a spacewalk for nearly seven hours in order to complete the upgrades.
Emerging Tech

Asteroid Ryugu is porous, shaped like a spinning top, and is formed of rubble

The Japanese Space Agency has been exploring a distant asteroid named Ryugu with its probe, Hayabusa 2. Now the first results from study of the asteroid are in, with three new papers published.
Emerging Tech

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s a super-speedy pulsar

A super-speedy pulsar has been spotted dashing across the sky, discovered using NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope and the Very Large Array. The pulsar is traveling at a breathtaking 2.5 million miles an hour.
Emerging Tech

Chilean telescope uncovers one of the oldest star clusters in the galaxy

An ultra-high definition image captured by the Gemini South telescope in Chile has uncovered one of the oldest star clusters in the Milky Way. The cluster, called HP 1, could give clues to how our galaxy was formed billions of years ago.
Emerging Tech

Astronomers discover giant chimneys spewing energy from the center of the galaxy

Astronomers have discovered two exhaust channels which are funneling matter and energy away from the supermassive black hole at the heart of our galaxy and out towards the edges of the galaxy, dubbed galactic center chimneys.
Emerging Tech

A milestone in the history of particle physics: Why does matter exist?

If matter and antimatter were both produced in equal amounts by the Big Bang, why is there so much matter around us and so little antimatter? A new experiment from CERN may hold the answer to this decades-long puzzle.