Virtual reality has been the focus of major innovations in recent years, but this new invention takes virtual reality to a whole new level. Scientists from EPFL and ETH Zurich invented a virtual reality glove that users can wear to feel as though they are actually holding a wide range of objects. Essentially, the virtual reality glove allows you to feel an object that does not actually exist and grip your hand around it. It works for both hard and soft objects of different sizes.
The virtual reality glove is manufactured through 3-D printing, which allows the user to even feel the texture of an imaginary object. The one limitation on the glove right now is that it must remain hooked up to a console the entire time it is being worn. Developers of the glove plan to expand on the technology to create an entire virtual reality body suit that will immerse the user in all of the feels of an entirely different environment.
The glove works with the placement of magnetic strips on the back of the users hands. When the user is not trying to touch or grab an object, the strips allow for completely free range of motion as if the glove was not there. To recreate the sensation of manipulating or touching an object, the glove pulls back on the user’s fingers via the magnetic strips. This creates resistance and simulates the effort that must be expended to handle an object. The glove was designed to be as lightweight as possible, although it does take considerable time to attach to the user’s hand because the metal strips must be precisely placed. They are activated by varying voltage surges to cause the strips to contract at different levels of intensity. Other tech companies are currently trying to latch onto this technology and expand the use of virtual reality gloves outside of laboratories for eventual distribution to average customers.