What is the next big leap for VR?

The next big leap of virtual reality_KellyOnTech

The development of virtual reality has always focused on achieving the ultimate visual and auditory experience in the virtual world. But for humans, the experience is not real enough, because even if we can see a cup and a doll in a room in the virtual world, we cannot touch the texture of these things. So scientists have been studying how to add tactile experiences to virtual reality.

There is a technical term called haptic feedback, which refers to technology that can replicate our sense of touch. Haptic feedback can greatly enhance the realism of the virtual reality man-machine interface.

Artificial Skin

In 2019, scientists at the Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, Switzerland, (EPFL ) invented a soft artificial skin that can provide haptic feedback. The skin’s soft sensor and actuator system enable the artificial skin to conform to the exact shape of the wearer’s fingers and provide haptic feedback in the form of pressure and vibration. At the same time, the strain sensor can continuously measure the deformation of the skin in order to adjust the haptic feedback in real-time to produce the most realistic haptic sensation.

The great thing about this completely soft artificial skin is that the sensors and actuators in it are integrated for the first time to form a closed-loop control. In other words, you can precisely adjust the vibration stimulation you feel. Currently, artificial skin can be stretched to four times its original length. Stretching can be repeated a million times.

I prepared a video for your reference.

Magic Capsule

In 2020 last year, scientists from the Lausanne Polytechnic Institute launched an upgraded version of artificial skin. They are millimetre-sized capsules that use static electricity to inflate and deflate. The capsule has an external insulating film made of silicone. The insulating film is made into a pocket filled with oil, like a capsule. Each capsule is surrounded by four electrodes and can be closed like a zipper. When a voltage is applied, the electrodes are pulled together, causing the center of the capsule to expand like a blister. When you put them under your finger, it feels like you are touching various objects.

These small capsules are integrated into a pair of thin gloves. When you wear this pair of gloves, you can feel holding a solid object even if you are not holding something. The system can actively prevent your fingers from passing through virtual objects. You can also feel the different materials of the object. For example, the cup you hold in the virtual world is made of glass, ceramic, wood, or stainless steel.

In the near future, this technology should also be applied to video games. In addition, it is also useful for surgical simulators and remote control operations. The technology will also be applied in the field of neuroscience to study the dynamic activity of the brain in magnetic resonance experiments.

I prepared a video for your reference.

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