Rough surfaces and soft fabrics cannot be differentiated in a virtual environment these days. Meta wants to make this possible in the future.

With gloves like this, we should be able to feel virtual objects in the future.

That's what

  • Meta wants to open up a virtual world for us with Metaverse.

  • To be able to experience this correctly, however, simple VR glasses are not enough.

  • Because they do not allow the user to feel the environment .

  • Meta wants to make this possible in the future with the help of haptic gloves.

The idea that we can move into a virtual space where we work, meet friends and gain new experiences is fascinating. This is exactly what Meta, formerly known as Facebook, is working on. It wants to build a so-called metaverse that should have all of these properties. But before that happens, a few hurdles still have to be overcome. Although virtual reality technologies are now so advanced that you can lose yourself visually in a virtual world, actually experiencing this world and making it tangible is difficult.

Because as sharp as the environment appears with VR glasses, it cannot distract from the fact that you cannot feel a virtual ball in your hand, that the keys of a virtual keyboard do not give way under the light pressure of your fingers, or that you do not Structure of a virtual tree trunk cannot feel at the fingertips. Meta wants to change that.

Haptic gloves

As the company has announced, it has been working for several years on a new technology that should make it possible to actually make the virtual world tangible. This should be made possible with the help of haptic gloves, which should imitate the feel of the structure and resistance of an object as precisely as possible.

«Imagine working on a virtual puzzle with an ultra-realistic 3-D avatar of a friend. As you pick up the puzzle piece from the table in front of you, you will feel how your fingers will automatically stop when they reach the puzzle piece and you can also feel how it is in your hand when you pick it up. You feel the sharpness of the cardboard edges and the smooth surface in your fingers », Meta describes the experience.

« The possibilities are immense »

So far, this haptic technology is not very advanced. Existing gloves are clunky, impractical, and inaccurate. Meta wants such gadgets to become more stylish and lighter in the future. But there is still a long way to go, says Research Director Sean Keller. “We really create everything from scratch in this discipline. We have to learn how people interpret feelings and touch and how to execute movements. »

In order to have a lifelike feeling in the hands, a glove must be equipped with hundreds of tiny links powered by tiny motors. But as Keller's team found out, such a large number of motors would give off too much heat to be worn next to the skin. Therefore, the team is now devoting itself to soft robots and micro-fluids, as well as pneumatic sensors. It looks like this:

“The possibilities that this research opens up are immense,” says Research Hardware Engineering Director Tristan Trutna. “We are focused on haptic gloves, but this technology will lead to radical advances in other areas such as medicine, biochemistry and wearables in the future.”

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By Teresa Tapmleton

Teresa Tampleton has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Nizh TEkegram, Teresa Tampleton worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teresa@ntelegram.com 1-800-268-7341

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