The already quite numerous arsenal of technical means for imitating tactile sensations in virtual reality has been replenished with an original novelty. The technology called "Wireality" is the development of a team of researchers from Carnegie Mellon University (USA). They decided to use a person's own body weight and a tension-controlled cable system to give the user's hands new possibilities in VR.
The Wireality system is attached to the operator's shoulders, his body becomes a support for a system of dozens of thin threads. They stretch from the shoulders to the arms and are attached to each finger, palm and wrist. The cables have separate tensioning mechanisms controlled by a common controller, which, in turn, works in tandem with the BP headset.
When the user moves freely in the VR, there is no tension on the cables. But when he runs into an obstacle and begins to feel it or tries to interact with a virtual object, the system is activated. This is perceived as the impossibility or difficulty of "pushing" the surface of a virtual object with a finger, since the tension mechanism opposes the force of the finger. This sensation is different at every point of contact between the hand and the object, which gives rise to the illusion of feeling a real, solid and durable object.
The developers say that they have gotten used to creating imitation of even complex reliefs, with Wireality the user will be able to study the structure of sculptures or mechanisms by touch. At the same time, the operating area is limited by the space directly in front of you, the cable system does not allow you to perform acrobatic stunts. The prototype weighs 273 grams, but only 11 grams is directly on the hands, so they do not get tired. It is too early to talk about the price and timing of going on sale, but the prototype cost was about $ 50, which indicates the potential cheapness and availability of such devices.