Virtual Reality news so far has mainly focused on the headsets and their strengths and weaknesses. However, the next step for many companies is how the user will be able to control their experience. Traditional controllers only go so far, so many have begun work on haptic feedback. We have already seen two different companies look at haptic gloves for VR, Senso and Contact CI. Oculus however has gone a step further, with controls that could make controls a la Minority Report a reality. It is called HapticWave, and although not much is known about it, the excitement is palpable.
HapticWave and controls of the future
First reported by MIT Technology Review, the project spearheaded by Oculus and parent company Facebook is ambitious. Consisting of a circular metal plate on top of electromagnetic, the user places their bare hands on the device. according to Oculus, users should then not only feel the object, but tell which direction it is coming from.
Ravish Mehra, a researcher at Oculus, explains in the report that the illusion of HapticWave is aided by the use of a headset. Using the electromagnetic accentuators and accelerometers, the device can help the user differentiate between different sized objects, as well as direction and velocity.
Demonstrations of HapticWave will be available at the SIGGRAPH computer graphics and interaction conference 2016 in Anaheim, California. After which, Mehra reveals that research will move towards making the ring thinner and larger and how this impacts the vibration.
HapticWave in the home?
Oculus appears to be intensive research into the product. However, no mention has been made about turning HapticWave into a consumer product. “Our hope around this project was being able to generate this extrasensory input so users can be more perceptive and more believable of virtual objects,” Mehra says. Whether or not the device, either with its current name or something else, will be part of a future Oculus release has yet to be seen.
source: MIT Technology Review