Robotic Hand Attachment Lets You Touch Things In Virtual Reality

Dextra robotics

Dextra Robotics posted on Reddit's Oculus page to introduce a new device that they claim will bring a sense of touch to virtual reality, allowing you to feel the animated objects around you.

This single hand exoskeleton, called Dexmo F2, can create a sense of touch in the thumb and forefinger, corresponding with what is present on-screen in the virtual reality environment.

"On the thumb and the index finger exoskeleton there are two additional piece of hardware that we invested a lot of time developing, called the force feedback unit(Duh..), which is essentially a miniaturized gear disk braking system." Dextra Robotics commented on their Reddit post. "It works like this, when the avatar you are controlling hits an digital object, a signal is sent back via our SDK to Dexmo F2 and the small actuators actuates, brakes the joint and locks the exoskeleton. When you further bend your finger inwards, a normal force will be created on your fingertip.(FYI, this is patent pending in the state, and we got our very first patent for Dexmo approved in China)."

Put simply, you touch an object in the virtual road, the Dexmo kicks in and stops the two fingers from moving any further, and then the actuators on the fingertips begin to apply some pressure to replicate the feeling of the solid object.

This has been initially created to test consumer interest in something like this, which will lead to a Kickstarter launch in October, with an intention to sell the devices for about $200. The future of this tech is clear: expand it to all five fingers and add the capability to bend the fingers back as you apply pressure.

Exciting stuff.