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Device Simulates Feel of Walls, Solid Objects in VR


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Feeling a (virtual) lion statue.

A new device developed at Carnegie Mellon University uses multiple strings attached to the hand and fingers to simulate the feel of obstacles and objects in virtual reality.

Credit: Carnegie Mellon University School of Computer Science

Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) researchers have created a shoulder-mounted device that uses strings attached to the user's hand and fingers to simulate the feel of objects in virtual reality (VR).

For example, by locking the strings when the hand is near a virtual wall, the device simulates the sense of touching the wall; the string mechanism also allows users to feel the contours of a virtual object, or to perceive resistance when pushing on the object.

CMU's Cathy Fang said the use of lightweight spring-loaded strings helps keep down the weight of the device, reduce its power requirements, and keep its cost down.

User evaluations of the device found it offers more realistic touch-sense than other haptic techniques, which typically require the use of motors.

From Carnegie Mellon University School of Computer Science

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