October 4, 2018 // 11:15 a.m.
Haptic feedback specialist HaptX has announced the release of the HaptX Gloves Development Kit, described as an 'industrial-grade product for advanced simulation in virtual reality' and allowing for users to physically feel virtual objects.
Virtual reality, currently enjoying a resurgence of interest, is coming along in leaps and bounds in both visual fidelity and the complexity of control systems: From the wand-type controllers of the first VR systems for this generation to Valve's finger-tracking Knuckles system, developers are constantly coming up with methods of improving immersion in the virtual environment - and HaptX is going further than most, introducing a realistic sense of touch to the virtual world.
The HaptX Gloves Development Kit, as the company's latest creation is named, adds two glove-style controllers each featuring 130 individually-controllable tactile actuators based on microfluidic technology. Each hand is tracked in 3D space with claimed sub-millimetre position, and the position of each finger monitored - then the actuators can push back against the fingers to give the impression of touching a real-world object in the virtual world.
Sadly for gamers, HaptX is targeting the professional market. 'With HaptX Gloves, leading automotive and aerospace companies can touch and interact with their vehicles before they are built, radically reducing time and cost for design iterations,' explains Jake Rubin, founder and chief executive of HaptX, of his company's target customers. 'Industrial and government organizations can deploy virtual training solutions that build real muscle memory, providing a safe, cost-effective, and flexible alternative to live training.'
While businesses interested in picking up the development kit, which comes with plugins for Unity, Unreal Engine 4, Steam VR, and a low-level C++ application programming interface, can register their interest for a pilot programme based on the HaptX Gloves, the company is not yet sharing pricing information nor a schedule for general availability.
More information is available on the official website.