Virtual reality is a great tool for training, especially in manufacturing projects. But in spite of the immersion into a virtual world, nothing is less "real" than grabbing objects with a sticky laser-pointer. The Dutch startup, SenseGlove, puts feeling into virtual reality with its second generation haptic gloves.
A simple, difficult idea with a big payoff
The SenseGlove slides on easily and it's straps provide a secure fit. After a few seconds for calibration, you are prepared to move and interact with the virtual world in a natural way.
True, the SenseGlove can't add weight to virtual objects. But the combination of haptic feedback, vibrations, and hand-tracking allows users to move naturally with sensory feedback.
The result is a virtual environment, especially for training, which allows you to move in a natural way inside the virtual environment. It provides a more realistic training environment that better presents the physical challenges and helps users develop muscle memory which the body recalls when working in the real world.
The second generation SenseGlove straps securely to the hand, restricts finger movement when grasping virtual objects, and provides vibration feedback to the fingertips and the back of the hand.
SenseGlove presented their haptic gloves to a steady stream of visitors at Laval Virtual 2022 in Laval France. A well-thought out demonstration had visitors in a simple manufacturing environment where they manipulated controls, picked up and moved parts in a manufacturing environment, and performed simple (and amusing) assembly steps.
The demonstration was effective because visitors are used to the unnatural manipulation of objects using typical controllers. The contrast when using haptic gloves was clear. The gloves restricted the motion of your fingers, provided vibration feedback, or both, depending on the action taken in the virtual world.
The benefit for training was self-evident at the end of the demonstration. Working directly with your hands in a virtual environment is more natural. It requires you to move, reach, bend over, crouch, and gesture just as if you were in the real environment.
Clearly, using SenseGloves for training, or any non-trivial virtual experience, can provide a more natural interaction with the virtual world. It more accurately reflects how you would move in a real environment. It begins to train muscle-memory. This benefits everyone using virtual reality to mimic the real world. The natural interaction with virtual object brings your entire body into the virtual world and not just you eyes and ears.