Soft Virtual Touch or Haptic Interactions Using Sleeve or Armband from USC

Virtual Reality, VR, Immersive Technology & Simulated Environment

Soft Virtual Touch or Haptic Interactions Using Sleeve or Armband from USC

Haptic Interactions at USC
Dr. Heather Culbertson and her “magical” haptic sleeve. (Credit: USC)

Recently, a team from Department of Computer Science in USC (University of Southern California) has come up with a way to make your virtual reality experience to be more interesting. Normally, the current haptics technology makes you feel like being buzzed or zapped. Ouch!! Thanks to Dr. Heather Culbertson and her awesome team, you can now experience the feeling of being touched nicely, smoothly or softly in the virtual world.

How that Haptic Interactions Work?

So, how does it works? Well, you’ll need to wear somekind of special sleeve or armband that wraps around your arm. Inside the armband, there are six wired small speakers connecting to the system. This will make it like a voice coil actuators that able to produce and play vibration.

Hence, when you wear it, you can feel like there is some kind of virtual (or invisible) finger moving or stroking along your arm in a smooth and gentle manner. Sounds cool, isn’t it? Or is it scary to you? 😀

Seems like there’s a lot of potential from this kind of technology. Imagine if the horror VR game used this as part of the game. You can do stuff like spider crawling on your body. And this also can be misused by some people if they are not responsible. Kinda for “adult” thingy.

But one of good way to apply it is in social VR. Lets say you want to get attention from some guy in the virtual world. Beside keep calling their name, you can also “tap” at their arm or elbow so they will notice you immediately. From there, we can expand it to the handshake or pat on the back to make it more like a natural social touch.

Perhaps soon we can feel and get something like in “Ready Player One” movie. For more info, you can read it at:
1) “Haptic armband lets you feel the sensation of stroking in VR” from Venture Beat.
2) “HaRVI Lab: Haptics Robotics and Virtual Interaction” from USC.

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