Engineers are hard at work trying to find ways to make virtual experiences even more intimate for the participants, including Wolverine-like claws, exoskeleton gloves that tug on each finger and VR boots. Haptic devices want to let us feel our way through virtual spaces, giving realistic feedback as we touch different objects as well as grab, push, and pull with accurate gestures.
EXOS is a haptic controller that adopts an exoskeleton style that is meant to allow you to interact realistically in VR.
In development by Japanese startup Exiii, which has a goal of “expanding human possibilities through products”, the EXOS project is a glove powered by a combination of motors that work to recreate physical touch. For example, the motor can create resistance between the thumb and fingers when squeezing a virtual spherical object to give the illusion of touch.
Not all haptic devices find a balance between functionality and form-factor, but it looks like EXOS is aiming for a sweet spot. The glove itself doesn’t look too cumbersome, relatively speaking, but it does limit immersion to a point. While the thumb moves freely in the glove, the fingers are all attached to one joint which can limit just how intricate the feedback can get.
When it comes to haptics, the industry is still in very much a conceptual phase outside of using simple vibrations to simulate touch. Even if this device ends up getting trumped by others for VR games and experiences, Exiii claims its technology can be used to manipulate robotics or for helping rehab patients.