Virtual reality headsets, including the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive are able to deliver extremely immersive virtual reality experiences. People can enjoy a virtual world, due to the visual and head tracking capabilities of those headsets. However, with the tracking limited to one’s head, the immersion and activity of the movements in the VR world is limited as well.
Even though motion tracker controllers do exist, one of the biggest drawbacks is the fact that those input devices, don’t allow developers to track precise finger movement and proper and immersive VR hand interactions. This results in objects getting stuck to the hands of your virtual avatar. Nonetheless this might soon change with realistic VR Hands animation algorithms and VR Gloves, such as the VirtualGrasp and Dexmo.
The Tactile Response VR Exoskeleton Glove Dexmo
Presented by Dexta Robotics, the Dexmo is a rather unique VR glove project, that allows people to interact with virtual objects, not only by precisely tracking the movements of one’s hand, but also by providing the player with tactile feedback. This is done by indicating the way objects are rendered, thus allowing for the exoskeleton VR glove to provide with a tactile response.
Dexmo is currently in the prototype phase, but according to Dexta Robotics, the VR glove is light enough that it doesn’t cause any fatigue when used. Furthermore, with the glove’s wireless capabilities you wouldn’t be worried about the need of any cables. While the future for a tacticle responsive VR Exoskeleton Glove such as the Dexmo is exciting, especially for its VR Fitness possibilities, currently the only software that works with the glove is the custom software created by Dexta Robotics.
The VR Hands Animation Algorithm VirtualGrasp
Another exciting development in realistic hand movements in virtual reality is VirtualGrasp. Instead of focusing on new hardware, the VirtualGrasp rather focuses on delivering a software that will allow developers to present people with realistic VR hands movement. In the real world, we tend to pick up different objects in a variety of ways. For example, if you are about to pick up a bottle, your hand and fingers will wrap the bottle. While if you are picking up a donut, or a fruit, your will be doing so by grasping the object with just the tips of your fingers. Such precise finger movement will increase the immersion of virtual reality, but it would be impossible for developers to program the way each and every object is picked within their virtual experiences. VirtualGrasp aims to change that by presenting developers with an algorithm that manages to deliver VR Hands interaction with different objects.
Developed by Swedish robotics specialists at the Swedish company Gleechi, the VirtualGrasp software uses a predictive and adaptive algorithm, which manages to analyze the different properties of a virtual object and translates them into the physical properties an object would have in the virtual world it is found it. This allows for realistic grip formation for the in-game VR hand model. That way, when picking up an object with their VR input device, people will now be able to see a realistic grip from their VR hands, instead of that object just getting stuck to their virtual avatars. This will bring a new level of immersion to virtual reality.
The Immersive VR Hands Experience
With devices such as the Dexmo VR Exoskeleton Gloves and software such as the VirtualGrasp, people will soon be able to properly pick up objects in the virtual world and in the case of Dexmo, even feel those objects. This will bring a whole new level of immersion to virtual reality. Imagine doing your VR Fitness routine, and feeling how you pick up the dumbbells. Even though you would not be able to feel their weight, the immersion would nonetheless be better. Furthermore, imagine playing The Climb, and actually feeling when you grab the rocks. The possibilities with the Dexmo VR gloves are endless. However, the software capabilities of VirtualGrasp should also be noted. One of the biggest drawbacks of the current touch controls available for the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive are the fact that you can’t truly achieve an immersive visual VR hands interaction. As this is possible with the VirtualGrasp, you will now be able to better enjoy your VR games and experiences.
Nonetheless, currently there is no information about a release date or the price of the Dexmo VR gloves. Furthermore, while VirtualGrasp will deliver a whole new level of immersion in presence in almost every game and experience currently available, currently there is no information whether there are developers who are interested in integrating the software in their VR games and experiences. Time will tell if either of these promising tech advances will change the way we use VR as we know it today. We’re just glad that they’re coming and about to change the landscape very soon!