The Hands Omni glove provides a way for gamers and others to "feel" objects in a virtual space using inflatable bladders.
With the advent of this new golden age of virtual reality, we've seen multiple different headsets from multiple different companies all promising to put you into your games. But is being in a game, looking around, and maybe having a walk, enough? Of course not. You've got to be able to do stuff. That's what video games are all about!
To that end, engineers at Rice University have invented something called the Omni Glove - a special virtual reality glove that actually lets you feel and interact with virtual objects as if they were sitting in your hand. Check out the video demonstration to the right.
"What we've made is a glove that uses air to inflate bladders underneath your fingers, so you can hook this up to a video game and when you reach out and grab a virtual object, it feels like you're actually grabbing that object," said mechanical engineering student Thor Walker.
The fingers feel pressure from bladders in the glove's fingertips that expand and contract as necessary. The team's agreement with its sponsor means the glove's underlying technology must remain under wraps, but they say programmers should find it fairly simple to implement the glove's protocols into their games and other projects.
That sponsor, by the way, is Virtuiux - the guys behind that Omni-directional treadmill we saw a few years ago.
Sounds like pretty exciting stuff, and like it would be a perfect companion controller for any of the VR headsets we've seen thus far.
Source: Rice University