Gloveone is a pair of embedded gloves that lets you feel your way around the virtual reality world.
The relationship between video gamers and gloves hasn’t been all too dandy to say the least. Remember the Nintendo Power Glove from the early ‘90s? The accessory had been designed to provide players with buttons conveniently located on their forearm. Along with the wearable controller, the user was able to perform various hand motions to command a character on-screen. Unfortunately, the trend never really caught on.
Fast forward 25 years, video games have come a long way. Not just with their killer graphics, but more immersive experiences than ever before thanks to virtual reality. Cognizant of this, one Miami-based startup has set out to create a pair of gloves that works alongside a VR headset to offer users a sense of texture and depth. And with the emergence of industry heavyweights like Oculus, Google, Samsung and HTC each debuting simulated googles of their own, this innovation couldn’t have come at a better time.
Surely more exciting than Nintendo’s ill-fated attempt at a body-adorned gaming device, the aptly named Gloveone slips onto a person’s hands while sensation and texture are created through a series of complex vibrations. The wearable, which is based on an ATmega32U4 MCU, features 10 actuators on each fingertip and the palm that translates touch into haptic feedback at various frequencies, times and intensities to accurately reproduce sensations in the VR world.
What’s more, the device is embedded with IMU sensors to track and mimic movement on-screen in a natural manner, a Li-Po battery for four hours worth of power, a microUSB for low-latency mode via cable, Bluetooth for wireless communication (meaning no getting tangled up in wires), and those who work up a sweat during gameplay can take comfort in knowing that the gloves are comprised of breathable and anti-bacterial fabric.
The gadget enables users to perceive texture, sense sound and temperature, as well as distinguish between weight of objects. In other words, this means a wearer can feel heat from touching a fire burning in a game, a raindrop falling from the virtual sky or even tell if one augmented item is heavier than another. Beyond that, four sensors located in the palm, thumb, index and middle fingers communicate with one another, allowing a user to shoot a cannon, grab a flower petal or simply control the main menu. Unlike other gesture recognition systems, contact-triggered commands do not suffer from false positives or negatives, which can often times be very frustrating for users.
Aside from enhancing the gaming industry, Gloveone could surely play an integral role in bringing sci-fi-like technology into the healthcare setting by assisting those with impaired mobility to re-learn movements such as picking up and holding an item or even walking.
Currently available in three sizes (XS-S, M-L, XL-XXL), the system does rely upon auxiliary sensors like Leap Motion or Intel RealSense to track a user’s hands. However, it can also work with other tech including Microsoft Kinect and OpenCV. Sound like something you’d like to use? Head over to its official Kickstarter campaign, where the NeuroDigital Technologies crew is seeking $150,000. Delivery is slated for February 2016.