Research

Creating a haptic experience with VR-gloves

Mockup storyboard

The power of touch is profound. Research has shown that realistic haptic interactions with virtual objects decrease the amount of mistakes made, compared to traditional virtual reality training. In this blog we show you the types of haptic VR gloves there are, and how others use SenseGlove to their advantage.

Types of VR haptic gloves

First of all we’d like to explain which type of VR haptic gloves there are. What’s the difference and how can they be applied best? 

Vibrotactile feedback gloves

Captures your hand motion with sensors. The vibrotactile actuators allow you to feel cues like friction or impact, button clicks and texture. Perfect for gaming, motion research, and simple procedure training such as logistics. Usually designed as traditional fabric gloves.
Pricing: starts from $1.500

Force feedback gloves 

Provide kinesthetic feedback, letting you feel the object’s size, stiffness, and density. Your hand does not pass through objects, making for a natural way of gripping. Ideal for training simulation or professional research which include grasping interactions with tools and dashboards: manufacturing, teleoperation, design evaluation. May have a form-factor of exoskeleton or traditional fabric gloves. 
Pricing: starts from $3.500

Skin deformation gloves

Provide haptic feedback with embedded actuators that are pushing directly against the user’s skin, displacing it to simulate contact, surface geometry, shape and pressure. May be used in specific cases that require a high level of feedback: surgery training in medical tele-robotics, replacing clay models in car design evaluation. Can use several types of actuation: micro-fluid grids or piezoelectric displays, which is often implemented in finger only devices, textile gloves or exoskeletons. 
Pricing: Undisclosed

“The next big step towards truly immersive VR training is to have haptic interactions. Therefore, Volkswagen collaborates with SenseGlove to make this vision of scalable haptic VR training a reality” 

Malte Hedemann, Referent Digital Realities (VR/AR) at the Volkswagen Group

Haptic gloves for (manufacturing) research

Manufacturing can be a nightmare if not planned properly; VR could help with that. But controllers are often hesitant to start the process of implementing VR.  Researchers looking to improve their designs use haptic gloves instead so users can get the feel of various tools, thanks to force feedback. Realistic simulations lead to higher production quality. Thanks to haptics, researchers can save time by optimising processes in the early stages of development.

Some jobs carry a significant health risk. Telerobotics comes to the rescue, allowing them to remotely handle dangerous tasks. However, lack of precision in operating robotic arms may lead to failure. That’s where VR haptic gloves come into play: haptic gloves allow the operator to feel the object as if they were holding it, and control grip strength precisely. Any hazard can be dealt with remotely, while maintaining precision and safety for both the robot and operator.

Haptic gloves for design evaluation

VR has surely transformed the design evaluation process, but it still fails to provide the user with a meaningful sensory experience. Haptic gloves can emulate the physical feel and texture of your design, helping you make the decision before investing in a physical prototype. They also allow you to efficiently adjust ergonomics on the fly. Force feedback makes the virtual interaction more realistic, so you can also evaluate the feel of interacting with your design. 

With vibrotactile feedback, you can feel your design’s texture, how it moves and responds to the touch. This means that design teams can exchange feedback and implement changes in real-time, making iterations take minutes instead of months to complete.

“The SenseGlove’s interaction technology allows the user of the mixed mock-up to grab components and guide them to where they are to be assembled. The evaluation of the new confirmed that the improvements enable a more realistic simulation of the assembly processes and a more intuitive operation of the system.”

Florian Dyck, Researcher at Fraunhofer IEM

Machine learning for robotics

Using the SenseGlove and a VR-setup, the user gets immersed in a virtual environment, simulating vision and touch. During the simulation, the movement of the hand is used to control a virtual gripper arm. Haptic feedback is applied so the arm and gripper can be controlled in an intuitive manner. It is the task of the user to clear obstacles  that are in the way of the virtual vehicle. The arm and gripper in the training environment are based on the existing model of the DOK-ING MV 4.

Many scenarios can be created in which obstacles have to be cleared. The obstacles will be randomly generated: the data output of the SenseGlove is used to feed the machine-learning algorithms. Using these algorithms, the vehicle will be taught to operate completely autonomous.

How to create haptic VR experiences

There are a couple of things you need to consider when creating a haptic experience: 

1. Set the goal 

Define whether you plan to research the influence of haptics, improve VR training results, or optimise the design process.

2. Choose a haptic glove with the features that fulfills your needs

What activities will your project require haptic feedback for: grabbing, holding, feeling vibration, impact, evaluating shapes or size of objects?

3. Define metrics to measure your success

How will you define success: the number of mistakes after the training/design process, time saved on design iterations, the number of instructors required for employee training, insights or citations to your research?

4. Create a pilot

SenseGlove supports Unity, Unreal Engine, ROS and other additional plugins. You can create a project yourself or ask the SenseGlove development team for help.

5. Test your interactions and see if the metrics are measurable

Test your metrics and see if there are new outcomes and insights that you can take into account.

6. Polish and launch your experience

Congrats! You made what’s digital feel real. Enjoy your results!

SenseGlove

We develop force and haptic feedback gloves that enable professionals to physically feel and interact with virtual objects for VR training and research purposes. Our product is used to increase the effectiveness of virtual training for clients like Volkswagen, Airbus, Scania, Honda, Cambridge University, TNO, Fraunhofer, Siemens, and many more.

Want to know how we can help you in developing your experience?

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