VR was a big deal this year during E3, not least because of the Sony Press conference. However, some smaller companies also made a big impact at this year’s expo. Not least was Contact CI, a company based in Cincinnati, which showcased a glove designed for more immersive VR.
The impressive looking glove uses exotendon technology, the same found in exo-suits currently in development in the military. Contact CI uses this to provide haptic and virtual feedback, which they claim is more realistic than the current offers. Their explanation on start-up website Angellist explains, “Our technology is the solution to one of the most major problem in the virtual reality industry, currently as a viewer in a VR head mounted display you have to use a “Wii” like gesture control device or an optical sensor, which both have very large limitations. To truly have VR reach its potential the users must be able to be immersed completely in the environment. Our product provides this better than anyone else.”
In an interview with Tech Crunch, which can be read here, co-founder Craig Douglass explained how the glove works. “It captures all of your movements in real time, mimicking them back to the game engine that you’re using for your headset. And it also has haptic feedback, through five actuators in the fingertips that give you a buzz interaction, so when you’re picking up an item, you can feel yourself grabbing it, and when you’re letting go, you can feel it leaving your hand.”
The article goes on to explain that for the time being there is still a lot of work to be done. A lot of calibration is needed to make it fit different users, and the haptic feedback is not completely ready as of yet. Nevertheless, if all of the kinks are worked out, it can be a very exciting VR peripheral that would achieve what the Powerglove could not.
Development kits of Contact CI’s glove will ship in the third quarter of 2016, costing a huge $470 for a pair and $250 for a single glove. Once the full product starts shipping however, the planned retail price is $299.