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Touch in VR
Industry News, Soft Skills, Therapy and Support

More Than Meets the Eye: Meta’s Haptic Glove

Virtual reality has traditionally been viewed as a technology that allows users to immerse themselves in computer-generated environments, giving them the opportunity to experience a vast number of scenarios and surroundings. Until recently, VR software only offered the ability to stimulate two senses: sight and sound. Various attachments have attempted to close this gap between fiction and reality by adding a smell or taste component, but the one sense that hasn’t been properly addressed, and is perhaps the most vital to addressing this gap, is touch. Enter: Meta’s haptic glove.

The haptic glove prototype offers the sensation of touching or holding objects in virtual reality. This is achieved with the help of hundreds of actuators – small inflatable motors that mimic the feeling of pressure. Meta is working to improve the functionality of this feature by enabling the glove to detect exactly where you are in a virtual field, how close you are in proximity to an object, as well as the physical properties of various objects. Meta Research Director Sean Keller believes in the large impact this will have: “We use our hands to communicate with others, to learn about the world, and to take action within it. We can take advantage of a lifetime of motor learning if we can bring full hand presence into AR and VR. People could touch, feel, and manipulate virtual objects just like real objects — all without having to learn a new way of interacting with the world.” 

Don’t get too excited though – this glove is years from being market ready. RL Research Process Engineer, Katherine Healy, addresses the manufacturing difficulties Meta is facing, considering the gloves are being individually assembled by skilled engineers. “We use semi-automated processes where we can, but manufacturing these gloves at scale will require the invention of new manufacturing processes,” Healy mentions. Despite these setbacks, VR technology is predicted to become widely accessible in coming years.

Haptic technology isn’t necessarily new to the market, it just hasn’t been widely available to the public, nor has it attracted the interest of people other than serious gamers or movie producers. It’s taken years for the public to welcome the idea that VR technology has more practical uses than just gaming or entertainment. 

Though initial applications may focus on gaming and hard skills training, areas like therapy and support, soft skills training, and real time collaboration will also benefit. With this glove, you’ll be able to realistically manipulate 3D product prototypes, shake hands while practicing mock job interviews, and make realistic, genuine connections with other people through the sensation of touch during therapy and support sessions. 

Foretell Reality is a social VR platform for therapy and support, soft skill training, and real time collaboration. We employ current technologies such as hand tracking and are constantly extending our capabilities to support the latest headsets and accessories. To learn more or schedule a demo, click here.

October Events in VR
Industry News, Other

Five Events in October Pushing VR Forward (and the month’s not over yet)

  1. Accenture announces it will purchase 60,000 VR headsets to train new hires.

Why it Matters: More demand for hardware will create more competition among headset manufacturers which will advance innovation.

2. HTC announces release of new immersive glasses for relaxation.

Why it Matters: More affordably priced headsets in the marketplace targeted at specific consumer applications like relaxation will increase adoption among consumers.

3. Facebook announces it will hire 10,000 new employees in Europe focused on building out metaverse.

Why it Matters: With 10,000 employees in the U.S. already working on AR and VR, this is a clear indication that the largest social media company in the world is going all in on a 3D future globally.

4. Magic Leap raises another $500m and reveals Magic Leap 2.

Why it Matters: Having now raised a total of $3.5b, it shows that large investors see augmented and virtual reality as a long term play.

5. Paris Hilton headlines the inaugural Metaverse Festival and embraces the decentralized world of blockchain, Decentraland, and Genies.

Why it Matters: Alternative social VR platforms show that Mark Zuckerburg’s metaverse isn’t the only game in town meaning more choices for consumers, more innovation, and less centralized control.

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