With the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Sony Project Morpheus and various other virtual reality headsets edging ever closer to their retail releases, the age of VR is almost upon us. For real this time, not like the one in the 1990s. Probably.
But while the headsets take on the (admittedly important) jobs of providing visuals and audio, there’s the whole aspect of control to consider. Sure, we can don an Oculus Rift and get transported into an incredibly rich virtual world – but once we’re in there, how do we interact with things? How do we move around?
Of course, you can use a traditional game controller, but that’s hardly the most immersive method imaginable. Much better would be this glove, a prototype that would allow your hand – or, rather, an accurate representation of it – to be brought into the VR space, matching your actual movements in 1:1 fashion.
The glove is the work of Mirek Burkon, and unlike Leap Motion it requires no external sensor to read your fingers’ movements. Instead, everything is tracked via inertia. Burkon calls this method “the only way to go” due to visual tracking systems’ limitations, chiefly their field-of-view and line-of-sight requirements.
Burkon plans to eventually commercialise the glove, so he’s understandably keen to maintain some level of secrecy as to how it works. However, over at a Reddit Q&A session, he revealed that he built it using Unity and an Arduino Uno board, that it features two sensors per finger, and that he’s working on providing haptic feedback that will kick in when your virtual hand “touches” something.
While this is a very early prototype, it’s encouraging to see that people are working on relatively fuss-free ways to transport your actual hands into future virtual worlds.