2023 Author: Bryan Walter | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-21 22:24
Microsoft Research engineers created two controllers to simulate physical contact in virtual reality. One of them allows you to feel the hardness of an object under compression and distinguish surfaces due to haptic recoil, and the second simulates the sensation of moving a finger over different surfaces due to a rotating drum with a surface of several materials, according to the company's website.
Modern serial virtual reality helmets allow you to create a realistic image and sounds of the virtual world through the screen and headphones. But practically all existing virtual reality systems do not allow feeling tactile interaction with virtual objects, since imitation of physical contact is much more difficult to implement. Despite the fact that such devices are still practically not mass-produced, engineers are constantly creating their prototypes of various designs.
Experts from the research department of Microsoft presented two prototypes of devices for simulating contact with virtual objects. One is a hand controller with a separate index finger mount. This mount is connected to the rest of the controller via a servo motor. A pressure sensor and a vibration generator are installed on the finger mount, and a sensor at the end of the entire controller, due to which the virtual reality system monitors the controller's movements in space.
The controller can operate in several modes. Due to the movement of the servo motor, the device allows you to feel the hardness of virtual objects when they are squeezed or touched - the motor does not allow compressing a solid object and deflects the finger when approaching the object. In addition, it allows you to distinguish between different types of surfaces when you slide your finger over them due to vibration. Also, the device can be used as a controller for a virtual pistol.
The second presented controller is designed differently and is able to more realistically simulate surfaces from different materials. It is also a hand controller with an index finger rest. A drum is located under the finger, on which samples of materials from the virtual scene are preliminarily attached. For example, the researchers showed an imitation of different surfaces in a virtual scene with a game table: a cloth was attached to a drum, as well as a piece of satin paper and plastic imitating a round chip.
When the user brings his finger to an object in virtual reality, the controller brings the drum to the finger with the corresponding side. If the user moves his finger across the virtual surface, the wheel moves with him. In addition to the usual surfaces, buttons can be attached to the drum of the controller. Engineers have shown that in this way, for example, tactile feedback can be realized when using a mixing console:
Recently, developers from Microsoft Research introduced a virtual reality system for the blind, allowing them to interact with virtual objects through a cane. It allows them not only to feel the collision of the cane with virtual objects, but also to distinguish between different types of surfaces.