The VR technology today has been giving us an awesome gaming experience by having the two main senses – hearing and sight, join in on the fun. Considering the having to taste as well as smell the game will be out of the question with regards to improvements, they thought why not include the sense of feel to the game? The touch simulation is the next step in VR gaming and is one that is focused on by VR gaming researchers today. The main question that stands however is its implementation.
The VR gaming researcher team from Hasso Plattner Institute in Potsdam in Germany invented a wearable controller that can simulate walls and obstructions in the gaming world by simply moving the muscles or through EMS (electrical muscle simulation). As of now, it has a crude and messy set up while being implemented with a backpack containing medical grade eight channel muscle stimulator with a lot of wires and cables coming out from the bag. The goal of these wires and cables is to send very little electrical shocks to the specific body part in contact with the walls in the VR game.
It is expected to have the contraptions focused on stimulating muscles on the wrist, pectoral, forceps and the biceps.
Researchers also add “When pushing a button mounted to a vertical surface, for example, the system actuates biceps and wrist.”
If you’ve seen the muscle stimulators which physical therapists use in the hospital or even in the movies then you’re practically looking at something the same. As well, the experience on this game feature can also be a bit stingy when the electric shocks are fired – but don’t worry, it is stimulated only at a minimal or tolerable level and wouldn’t hurt a bit.
After a few tries and experiments, the researchers found out that the VR gaming experience can only be felt like real when short pulses of electrical shocks are used instead of the long and strong pulses.
Researchers also add in their statement “This design uses a brief EMS pulse (of 200-300 ms, using the user’s calibrated maximum intensity) where the EMS propels the user’s hand backwards, removing it from the virtual object it is trying to touch. We achieve this with an EMS pulse of still reasonably low intensity, which, like all other EMS signals in our system, is pain-free at all times.”
Having a prototype of the contraption, the game researchers has already come up with a good idea of a suit where the gamer can conveniently wear the contraption without having to deal with extending cables or wires or even a big backpack. In addition, one researcher also made a bold statement to Fast Company “the next step is bigger force, more physical sensations.”
This will probably get all gaming enthusiasts from around the world shocked and excited if it comes to fruition and let’s pray that malware writers don’t try to stand in its way. Else, it will add to the painful sensation that it already has.