What virtual reality immersion researchers are up to will ‘shock’ you – literally

OK, virtual reality fans and frenemies, here’s a fun thought process: How do you simulate haptic feedback when your arms are waving around in the air? When you pretend to grab a mug of coffee, pick up a ball, or clock someone in the jaw, how does the game world sell immersion to you?

One answer might be electric muscle stimulation — yep, they’re gonna shock you. Researchers at the Hasso-Plattner Institute in Germany are apparently trying to mimic the muscle response and feel of touching, pushing, or lifting items in virtual reality with micro-shocks in actual reality.

It’s not really as “shocking” as it sounds, as anyone’s who’s ever experienced this sort of thing in its existing form as muscle therapy can attest (I can, and it actually worked, I’m still surprised to say). At its worst, it sort of feels like weird tingling or zingy pressure, not pain. It’s a cheap process, but it’s also goofy as heck, and if you were annoyed at having to plop on a giant headset for virtual reality, just wait until you have to tape a bunch of electrical nodes up and down your arms.

Source: Plopes via Motherboard via Slashdot. Thanks, Sally! No regrets on the headline.
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22 Comments on "What virtual reality immersion researchers are up to will ‘shock’ you – literally"

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Melissa McDonald

I got a little off topic there. What I mean to say is, No, I don’t see myself wearing little electric shock patches any more than YOU do. But the problems of haptics are being solved. Incrementally. May take 20 more years to solve Touch in the VR space in a way that is compelling. The visuals are coming together nicely.

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Melissa McDonald

We’re seeing these problems solved in real time. VR development as a medium, not a single App, Game, or Visor. Creating Holodecks is what we all want. Other than the fanciful energy-to-matter concept on Star Trek’s version, we’re going to have something fairly close to that I think before I pass away from this world.
There are already Mixed Reality /HUD display contact lenses. Just give that another decade or so of development.
Visors WILL go away once we get implants/contacts perfected. Mankind stumbles towards becoming cyborgs, but it will make us do some mighty interesting things. I just hope at some point there isn’t a belief that artificial is better.
“can someone stop this madness,
or was it meant to be?
Kingdom of Steel forever more.
Machine Revolution.”

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Utakata

I guess this will give a new meaning to E-stims. o.O

dixa
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dixa

rule 42?

possum440 .
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possum440 .

Besides the real dangers of the system, they are now adding physical electricity to the mix.

The absurdity level keeps rising. Watching the whole VR craze is like watching Nascar, you only watch the races for the enventual wreck and then just to see how bad it is.

miol
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miol

An exosuit would be way more effective to control your motions, when trying to touch a virtual wall!

Boston Dynamics has already shown there are strong, fast and precise enough electric motors in existence! Their patents are held for the A.I. and its fast computing to react to balance changes anyway, not for those publicly available motors! Syncing those motors to the virtual enviroment shouldn’t be the problem either!

The only problem is, that you’ll need a room as big as the whole game level, and if you want to use virtual stairs or climbing walls, you’ll also need a precise rope system similar to those they have for the close-up field cameras in the NFL!

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Schmidt.Capela

You likely won’t need to stick patches to your skin with a final product. A final product might look more like the image below (which is of the Myo, an input device which uses a similar idea):

nj4r00om4wcesipxgh5j.png
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Arktouros

Honestly I feel like things do a pretty good job as is. For example the bow in the Lab has a really good sensation when you pull it back. There’s a sort of grinding sound from the bow tension as you pull it back and the wands provide a bit of haptic feedback. When done right, it’s all pretty great.

This seems like one of the more zany ideas that I doubt will really be adopted over all, but I love that they’re experimenting with ideas like this.

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Denice J. Cook

What if the thing malfunctions and over-shocks somebody?

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Schlag Sweetleaf

z

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Armsbend

“Is that the best you can do, you pansies?”