Cybergloves - Pros and Cons of VR Gloves

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Michael Naimark
@michaelnaimark

Summary

  • A problem of comfort
  • The technical limits of cybergloves
  • Technology that still needs improvement

Gone are the days when gloves were only useful for keeping hands warm. The Controller of the Future is a seemingly ordinary glove, which also records the natural movements of the fingers to produce physical reactions.

Several similar devices are already available on the market. We count for example the famous Nintendo Power Glove or the VPL Data Glove by Tom Zimmerman, the pioneer of virtual reality.



We can also mention the SensoGlove, used by many golfers. This glove has sensors to detect the pressure around the club. With this system, the golfer can know exactly how hard to hold the club for a smooth and efficient swing to maximize distance and accuracy.

A problem of comfort

Used in combination with a virtual reality headset, a cyberglove makes it possible to transcribe the user's movements in the VR. As a rule, these gloves are offered in one size, and adapt to the size of the hand thanks to the elasticity.

For people with larger hands, data collection can be biased. Fortunately, a vacuum provided for this purpose slows down the reactions. Once the cybergloves are on, the user's hands may sweat, and irritation risks are to be expected.

The technical limits of cybergloves

Comfort is not the first problem with these innovative tools. The main difficulty is to create electronic components adapted to different devices. Likewise, to allow cybergloves to know the exact position of the fingers, a computer is needed to determine if the fingers are wide enough to catch an object in virtual reality.



Un calculation system must ensure that virtual objects do not fall out of the user's hands, or that they do not get stuck to his fingers. To create such software, some companies have invested heavily in research for many years. This is particularly the case of the startup Leap Motion.


Technology that still needs improvement

Ultimately, cybergloves have a number of advantages over controllers like the Oculus Touch. Interaction offered in virtual reality is more natural and realistic. Therefore the immersion is amplified.


However, at present, the devices available on the market lack the precision and comfort to deliver a truly compelling experience. Likewise, such technology still seems too difficult to apply to massive industrial production for the general public. We can bet that investments and research will make it possible to remedy these problems in the years to come.



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