The company behind the force feedback haptic gloves HaptX and research teams from Virginia Tech and University of Florida have secured a $1.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF), something the group says will allow them to build full-body haptic and force feedback tech for VR and robotics.

Called ‘ForceBot’, the project is slated to let users feel “large-scale passive and active constraints on their movements that closely mimic real-world forces,” the group says, allowing users to feel the shape, weight, and texture of virtual objects, move naturally in VR, and use telepresence robots for object manipulation.

Image courtesy HaptX

ForceBot is being funded by the the NSF’s National Robotics Initiative, which is dedicated to accelerating the development and use of robots in the US that work beside or cooperatively with people.

“ForceBot will advance knowledge at the convergence of virtual reality, robotic control, sensory feedback, ergonomics, and human factor fields,” said Dr. Alexander Leonessa, Principal Investigator, Virginia Tech. “We’re excited to create a system that increases immersion for VR users in applications requiring intensive body motions like sports and industrial skills training, gaming, emergency response, and many others.”

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HaptX is best known for its industrial-grade Haptx Gloves Developer Kit, which combines an exoskeletal glove for force feedback and integrated micro-pneumatics for detailed haptics delivered to the fingertips.

Not much is known about everything going into ForceBot, however the project is slated to incorporate HaptX Gloves in addition an articulated motion platform for walking in virtual environments.

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  • TechPassion

    Who cares? Nobody.

    • 3872Orcs

      I care.

    • Lucas Cunningham

      You cared enough to click on this article…

    • Hivemind9000

      I do.

      You never seem to have anything good to say. Why are you even here?

      • TechPassion

        Many times wrote positive things if there is something good.

    • Hamish Pain

      If we can’t jack straight into our brain, then immersive VR is always going to improve through physically interacting with our bodies. Someone has to do this research before we can get to in-home versions. There are lots of things that I’d love to do in real life that are just too dangerous where the physical element is integral (like parkour and mountain biking), so I definitely hope for something good out of this!

  • 3872Orcs

    One day we have something like this in our homes I dare hope. I recommend watching the smarter everyday video on it:

    Super cool stuff!

    • Bob

      Magic Leap has you sorted! ;)

  • Well, before HaptX, the company was called Axon VR and was already working on full body stuff, so I guess they’re back to their origins

    • Joe Michaels

      Good point, Tony :)