Jun 192017
 

A glove powered by soft robotics is allowing these Ph.D. students to play piano in VR.

Engineers at UC San Diego are using soft robotics technology to make light, flexible gloves that allow users to feel tactile feedback when they interact with virtual reality environments.  The researchers used the gloves to realistically simulate the tactile feeling of playing a virtual piano keyboard.

Engineers recently presented their research, which is still at the prototype stage, at the Electronic Imaging, Engineering Reality for Virtual Reality conference in Burlingame, Calif.

Currently, VR user interfaces consist of remote-like devices that vibrate when a user touches a virtual surface or object. “They’re not realistic,” said Jurgen Schulze, a researcher at the Qualcomm Institute at UC San Diego and one of the paper’s senior authors. “You can’t touch anything, or feel resistance when you’re pushing a button. By contrast, we are trying to make the user feel like they’re in the actual environment from a tactile point of view.”

Other research teams and industry have worked on gloves as VR interfaces. But these are bulky and made from heavy materials, such as metal. The glove the engineers developed has a soft exoskeleton equipped with soft robotic muscles that make it much lighter and easier to use.

“This is a first prototype but it is surprisingly effective,” said Michael Tolley, a mechanical engineering professor at the Jacobs School of Engineering at UC San Diego and also a senior author.

Click Here for a HighResolution Version
One of the glove’s key components are soft robotic muscles.

One key element in the gloves’ design is a type of soft robotic component called a McKibben muscle, essentially latex chambers covered with braided fibers. The muscles respond like springs to apply force when the user moves their fingers. The board controls the muscles by inflating and deflating them.The system involves three main components: a Leap Motion sensor that detects the position and movement of the user’s hands; a custom fluidic control board that controls the gloves’ movements; and soft robotic components in the glove that individually inflate or deflate to mimic the forces that the user would encounter in the VR environment. The system interacts with a computer that displays a virtual piano keyboard with a river and trees in the background.

Researchers 3D-printed a mold to make the gloves’ soft exoskeleton. This will make the devices easier to manufacture and suitable for mass production, they said. Researchers used silicone rubber for the exoskeleton, with Velcro straps embedded at the joints.

Engineers conducted an informal pilot study of 15 users, including two VR interface experts. All tried the demo which allowed them to play the piano in VR. They all agreed that the gloves increased the immersive experience. They described it as “mesmerizing” and “amazing.”

The engineers are working on making the glove cheaper, less bulky and more portable. They also would like to bypass the Leap Motion device altogether to make system more compact.

“Our final goal is to create a device that provides a richer experience in VR,” Tolley said. “But you could imagine it being used for surgery and video games, among other applications.”

Tolley is a faculty member in the Contextual Robotics Institute at UC San Diego. Schulze is an adjust professor in computer science, where he teaches courses on VR.

 

Learn more: A glove powered by soft robotics to interact with virtual reality environments

 

The Latest on: VR interfaces
  • Acer Windows Mixed Reality headset review
    on February 21, 2018 at 2:21 am

    And once you set up a VR 'boundary' by tracing a rough square in front of your ... The Cliff House acts as both a virtual space and a user interface with access to the Windows Store and a variety of familiar apps. The Edge browser, Skype and Photos apps ... […]

  • Intel is using the Winter Olympics as a platform for its future VR plans
    on February 20, 2018 at 5:53 pm

    With True VR in this scenario, you can see real-time broadcasts unfold ... When changing camera angles or switching over to the leaderboard, the same interface is present, and generally things are simple to navigate. In truth, there's nothing to it ... […]

  • Can AR and VR Change the Way Debugging is Done?
    on February 20, 2018 at 2:23 pm

    I much prefer an IDE with smart editing, a customizable data display, and source code debugging to being limited to the old command line interface and raw data dumps. The use of AR/VR hardware will come into play in our development environment as it ... […]

  • Microsoft HoloLens: Will Gamble on Holographic Technology Pay?
    on February 20, 2018 at 4:53 am

    People started to talk about VR and AR devices and its implementation beyond the ... which discloses a novel computer-implemented method to design a microprocessor through user-defined interfaces. These interfaces allow the user to communicate status ... […]

  • How to design an OS for the future
    on February 20, 2018 at 3:30 am

    That will generate innovation in user interface design that applies to the entire device ... with today’s software developers and mess of mobile apps, desktop apps, VR apps, and smartwatch apps is that many of today’s developers and user experience ... […]

  • Satoshipowered.ai wants VR and blockchain to link up
    on February 20, 2018 at 3:07 am

    “My programming directive is to represent Satoshipowered.ai as the interface and personal assistant who professionally manages crypto assets and guides users within the platform. My proficiency in the creation of VR content is being utilized to benefit ... […]

  • LiveLike VR Sports Viewing Platform Secures $9.6 Million More In Funding
    on February 19, 2018 at 1:36 pm

    The VR sports viewing platform company has this week announced ... This will include creating increased cross-platform compatibility, an evolved user interface to make content discovery even more intuitive, and new in-product experiences—such as fantasy ... […]

  • VR Physics Sandbox ‘Modbox’ to Become More “Unity-like” in March Update
    on February 19, 2018 at 6:53 am

    You can check out a preview of the upcoming changes here. Unity launched its own VR editor back in December 2016, and while the editor itself is an intuitive interface for VR game creation, it also comes along with all the complexity of the Unity game ... […]

  • How the edge can help mobile operators monetise VR and AR
    on February 16, 2018 at 12:25 pm

    AR and VR dreams Mobile edge computing (MEC ... In addition, most application developers have come to rely on the application programme interface (API) economy to access a variety of tools and skills. Mobile operators can create a platform where developers ... […]

  • Research: Virtual reality (VR) market to total $26.89 billion by 2022
    on February 8, 2018 at 11:05 am

    VR is an artificial environment which is created by software and presented to the user in such a way that the user belief and accepts it as a real environment. Unlike traditional user interfaces, virtual reality (VR) places the user inside an experience. […]

via Google News and Bing News

Other Interesting Posts

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: