Japan-based startuped Exiii is developing a pair of haptic gloves with force feedback, aimed at making VR more immersive. The company’s ‘EXOS Wrist’ device can rotate your hand about two axes, while the ‘EXOS Gripper’ providers finger stoppage to simulate the grabbing of virtual objects.
The Exos Wrist uses a mounting point around the user’s wrist, along with two motors, to offer force feedback to the hand along two axes. The device intentionally leaves the hand free so that users can still use standard VR controllers.
When users reach out to touch virtual objects, the motors can twist the hand to simulate an opposing force. The company says actions like pressing virtual buttons and even the kick of a virtual gun can be effectively simulated.
The Exos Gripper offers a different take on force feedback which is based around (you guessed it) gripping. While the Exos Wrist leaves the hand free to use standard VR controllers, the Gripper functions as a controller replacement, and can arbitrarily stop the user’s hand from moving to simulate the sensation of gripping a virtual object. The single motor design can also push back against the user’s hand (rather than just stop in place), opening the door to haptic sensations of gripping squishy objects like a rubber ball or an orange.
The company says the Gripper’s design makes it quick and easy to put on (compared to the Exos Wrist, which has multiple straps), making it ideal for more casual use cases.
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Exiii has created development kit versions of both haptic gloves, and says they’re now available for enterprise customers. Both devices include a Unity SDK for integrating them into VR experiences. The company says the gloves could be used for entertainment just as well as enterprise, but it isn’t clear yet if they’re planning to target the consumer sector—finding a home in VR arcades might be more practical given the gloves’ unique set of capabilities.
Exiii claims Nissan has been experimenting with their Exos gloves through the Global Design Center, where the automaker uses VR as part of their design process. Exiii has previously designed robotic hands for prosthetics and remote control.