VR Controller Lets You Feel Objects Slip Between Your Fingers


Last year, researchers from the National Taiwan University’s Interactive Graphics (and Multimedia) Laboratory and the National Chengchi University revealed their Hair Touch controller at the 2021 Computer-Human Interaction conference. The bizarre-looking contraption featured a tuft of hair that could be extended and contracted so that when someone tried to pet a virtual cat, or interact with other furry objects in virtual reality, their fingers would actually feel the fur, as far as their brains were concerned.

That was more or less the same motivation for researchers from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology’s MAKinteract Lab to create the SpinOcchio VR controller. Instead of making virtual fur feel real, the controller is designed to recreate the feeling of slipping something between your fingers. In the researchers’ own words, it’s described as “a handheld haptic controller capable of rendering the thickness and slipping of a virtual object pinched between two fingers.”

To keep this story PG-13, let’s stick with one of the example use cases the researchers suggest for the SpinOcchio controller: virtual pottery. Making bowls, vases, and other ceramics on a potter’s wheel in real life requires the artist to be able to feel the spinning object in their hands in order to make it perfectly cylindrical and stable. Attempting to use a potter’s wheel in virtual reality with a pair of VR joysticks in hand is nowhere near the same experience, but that’s the ultimate goal of VR: to accurately recreate an experience that otherwise may be inaccessible to a user.


Source: VR Controller Lets You Feel Objects Slip Between Your Fingers

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