Microsoft is exploring realistic VR haptics with this wrist-mounted gadget
Say hello to the new Haptic Pivot that Microsoft is using to test realistic VR haptics.
Virtual Reality (VR) headsets like Oculus Quest 2 and Valve Index are on top of their game, but the touch controllers that come with those devices still feel a little disconnected. A new design from Microsoft's research division could make the haptics of VR just as realistic as its visuals with a design that puts a motorised handle on your wrist.
At the heart of the new Haptic Pivot controller is a motorised hinge and handle system that sits on your wrist, as Endgadget reports. The handle includes a suite of capacitive touch sensors that allow it to detect when you touch and release an object in VR.
What's great about this new design is that it can move as fast as you need it to keep up with your movements. This means that the controller will be in sync with whatever is going on on-screen.
Importantly, two Pivot controllers can work together to “simulate what it's like to hold an object with two hands”.
While that can look a little funny in action but the design of the Haptic Pivot allows the “recreation of the sensation you feel when you first make contact with an object”. That is something the current haptic controllers, including ones glove designs, have struggled with replicating realistically.
Also Read: Google's Daydream is over, support for the VR platform officially ends with Android 11
Another handle of this particular design is that the Pivot handles retract when you are not using them. Also, Microsoft says that the Haptic Pivot can be used with a keyboard and mouse and thus, it's easy to imagine how that can allow anyone to use it with another VR controller. This is also vital for game developers.
“Introducing the wrist form factor, or design, into our offerings presented an opportunity to provide a wider range of actions without interfering with the physical environment around the player,” the team that worked on the design said.
Just to put it out there, the Haptic Pivot is a research project, and we may never see Microsoft actually commercialise the design. But it could inspire other companies to approach the problem of VR haptics in similar ways.
Follow HT Tech for the latest tech news and reviews , also keep up with us on Twitter, Facebook, Google News, and Instagram. For our latest videos, subscribe to our YouTube channel.