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Microsoft makes device that lets you feel objects in VR

Posted on Thursday, October 20 2016 @ 14:38:34 CEST by

Microsoft Research uploaded a video that showcases an actuator that allows users to feel virtual reality objects. The proof-of-concept system involves two experimental methods of haptic feedback, called NormalTouch and TextureTouch.

TextureTouch is basically a 4x4 grid of extrudable pins that move up and down relative to the position of your fingers to reproduce the object you're touching in a virtual reality environment. Furthermore, the Microsoft researchers say TextureTouch can simulate certain surface textures as well as providing haptic feedback regarding their shape.

NormalTouch on the other hand is a tiltable and extrudable platform that provides force feedback directly to your hands. Full details can be found in the Microsoft Research paper. Keep in mind these are experimental devices so potential consumer versions aren't on the horizon anytime soon.
Both controllers are tracked using an OptiTrack tracking system and let users sense and interact with virtual objects. The researchers say both devices have the potential to improve VR interaction when compared to systems that provide only visual feedback or a combination of visual and vibration-based feedback.

Source: The Tech Report



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