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

[google_news title=”” keyword=”VR interfaces” num_posts=”10″ blurb_length=”0″ show_thumb=”left”]

  • HTC's Vive VR Head-Mounted Display Company Comparison Report 2017 - Research and Markets
    on June 27, 2017 at 12:13 pm

    There are also several MCUs, FPGAs, processors, interface ICs, MEMS sensors, photodiodes, and a camera module including an Omnivision Global Shutter Motion Detector. Based on a complete teardown of the HTC Vive VR Headset, this report is a detailed ... […]

  • Payscout Launches World's First Live VR Payment Experience with Visa Checkout
    on June 27, 2017 at 8:21 am

    After successful processing of the payment transaction by Payscout VR Commerce, an interface to the merchant's fulfillment center is triggered with all the order details. "This moment represents the next step in the evolution of shopping experiences ... […]

  • Moss: Using VR to build a better mouse
    on June 27, 2017 at 6:21 am

    The cool thing about VR is that, while overwhelming, it allows us to reset back to simple, intuitive interfaces like reach-out-and-grab, which doesn't take as much explaining." Bulla said the developers sat down to talk about what VR was and could be ... […]

  • Elara Technologies files a patent for AR and VR
    on June 27, 2017 at 6:03 am

    It had acquired 3DPhy, a 3D visualization startup in 2016 and Out of Box Interactions (OoBI), a user interface design firm ... launched an experience centre in Mumbai to give visitors a VR tour of homes. This currently on the Western Express Highway ... […]

  • Payscout VR Commerce makes in-VR payments a reality
    on June 27, 2017 at 12:30 am

    After successful processing of the payment transaction by Payscout VR Commerce, an interface to the merchant’s fulfillment center is triggered with all the order details. “This moment represents the next step in the evolution of shopping experiences, ... […]

  • Heat-Delivering VR Technology
    on June 26, 2017 at 8:09 pm

    ThermoReal is a patent-pending product and technology developed by TEGway that makes human-machine interfaces, augmented reality and ... This feeling is delivered via a VR gaming handset. The thermoelectric device is capable of synchronizing immediate ... […]

  • ‘Vive N Chill’ is a Cooling Solution for HTC Vive Users With Sweaty VR Faces
    on June 26, 2017 at 1:00 am

    The Daily Roundup is our comprehensive coverage of the VR industry wrapped up into one daily email ... it instead uses dual tilting fans mounted atop the face interface, angling down towards the user’s forehead. The fans are powered from the Vive ... […]

  • Analogix's ICVR Could Make VR HMDs Less Cumbersome
    on June 24, 2017 at 10:40 am

    The group revealed ICVR, or "Interface for Connected VR," which is an attempt to standardize the physical connectivity of VR HMDs using DisplayPort over USB Type-C. The key purveyor here is Analogix, a leader in DisplayPort technology. The company makes a ... […]

  • YouTube at VidCon: New VR Format, Mobile App Update, YouTube TV Rollout Continues
    on June 23, 2017 at 3:00 am

    YouTube made several announcements at the annual VidCon convention in California on Thursday, covering VR, YouTube TV, new original series, and a number of changes coming to the YouTube web and app interface. First up, YouTube announced a brand new high ... […]

  • Two Technologies That Showcase Good VR Could Cost $20K
    on June 23, 2017 at 1:00 am

    Pushing the Assassin’s Creed Envelope If you were one of the few folks that saw the movie Assassin’s Creed, you would have seen what I thought was the best future implementation of a VR human interface. It suspended you in the air and tied into your ... […]

via Google News and Bing News

Other Interesting Posts

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: