Big picture: Perhaps the biggest challenge facing augmented and virtual reality is immersing or tricking the human mind into believing that what you are experiencing is real. Mastering the sound and visual elements of the metaverse is relatively easy, but mixing by touch is much more difficult.
Facebook … uh, Meta, for the past seven years – presumably since it acquired virtual reality headset maker Oculus VR for $ 2 billion in 2014 – has been working on gloves that can bring touch to the virtual world … uh, metaverse. This week the company introduced Refresh about his progress.
One of the research groups at Meta Reality Labs has dealt with this problem. First, they create new soft drives that generate less heat than existing mechanical drives. They will work in conjunction with a microfluidic processor that controls the airflow that moves the actuators. Together, these innovations will allow Meta to mount many more actuators on the glove than would otherwise be possible, and hopefully make it comfortable enough for extended use.
Another key element associated with touching the metaverse is hand tracking. Meta said it is creating advanced hand tracking technology that will allow the system to accurately determine where your hand is in a virtual scene, whether it is in contact with a virtual object, and exactly how your hand is interacting with that object. …
Meanwhile, the tactile renderer will be responsible for communicating all of this information to the actuators on the glove.
Meta said glove project started out as a moon shot but became more and more feasible over time. It is still in the early stages of development, but it certainly sounds a lot more attractive than applying chemicals to the skin to stimulate the senses.