The popularity of virtual reality and augmented reality has renewed interest in tele-haptics. Sensing movement in VR and AR comes down to motion sensors on the user and the user controlling movements through connected gloves or other devices. But when using VR and AR the user cannot physically feel or touch whatever they are interacting with.
EDN explained how fingertip sensory feedback works. Data is gathered from touching things in two main categories of sensors: kinesthetic and tactile. Kinesthetic refers to geometry and force, and tactile involves the cutaneous sensors. Cutaneous sensors identify pressure distribution. Since sensing objects is already extremely complex—and reproducing it at the fingertips even more so—little to no technology exists that can accurately reproduce tele-haptics.
More research and innovation around touch sensing would improve virtual games and medical endeavors like surgery. In medical systems, there are remote haptic systems that record both kinesthetic and tactile touch information, which is then sent to the operator. This type of information is useful in medical settings where doctors would be able to perform delicate surgeries remotely. One company tried designing full-body haptic suits for VR experiences that use electrical signals, but cancelled the project. As VR and AR become bigger industries, it is generally expected that tele-haptics innovation will grow as well.
Read more at EDN.
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