Virtual reality has many advantages, but so far it has been impossible to feel a hug in the virtual world or to experience other haptic impressions. A research team from City University of Hong Kong and Northwestern University have now developed the Skin-VR-System, a Virtual Reality Wearable that is placed directly on the skin and simulates touch.
The system is wirelessly integrated into the skin and can be used not only for communication, but also for prosthetic control and gaming. It thus opens up the complete potential of sensor technology in the areas of augmented reality and virtual reality, without the need for heavy vests and battery packs that is currently only possible.
Skin-VR-System – Simulation of contact by vibrations
The wearable works by simulating the contact of vibrations in the millimeter range. A contact is transmitted via the thin, adhesive tape, which can be attached to various parts of the body. The Skin-VR system places particular emphasis on meticulous and ergonomic design and consists of hundreds of functional components that can simulate all possible forms of touch.
A collection of chip-scale integrated circuits and antennas enable the Skin-VR system to be wirelessly operated and controlled.
“The haptic actuators can harvest radio frequency power through the large flexible antenna within a certain distance, so the user wearing the device can move freely without the trouble of wires.” – Dr. Yu Xinge</block quota>
The overarching research team had various areas of application in mind during development. Whether in mechanical engineering, materials science or biomedicine. Various areas can be identified that can benefit from the development in combination with augmented reality and virtual reality. In many areas it is relevant to feel the texture of an object or to receive haptic feedback. It can also be used for clinical applications to optimize the use of VR in the operating room. According to the developers, a temperature sensitivity should also be integrated in the next research step.