February 27, 2024

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NUS VR Glove Offers More Realistic Sense of Touch

Image credit: National University of Singapore

Researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) have created the HaptGlove, a lightweight, untethered haptic glove for virtual environments. It aims to provide a more realistic and authentic sense of touch and movement when interacting with virtual objects, enhancing the overall immersive experience in virtual reality (VR).

While the concept of haptic gloves is not new, current technologies have limitations in providing a realistic sense of touch, according to a press statement. Vibration motors in typical haptic gloves cannot replicate the real-world sense of touch like the hardness and shape of virtual objects. Other haptic gloves utilise pneumatic actuators that generate pressure but are bulky and restrict user movement.

The team’s research leader, Lim Chwee Teck, explained that virtual reality should not only be a visual and auditory experience but also enable interactions with virtual objects. However, current methods of interacting with virtual objects, such as pressing on a virtual panel or interacting with avatars, lack the sensation of touch found in the real world. This prompted the team to develop the haptic glove, which aims to provide the sensation of a “physical” touch in the virtual world.

HaptGlove is a portable and highly flexible haptic glove that enables users to have immersive touch and feel of VR objects with unparalleled realism in the VR experience. It incorporates lightweight pneumatic control and the team’s latest microfluidic sensing technology, which significantly reduces its size and weight, and eliminates the need for bulky accessories.

It enables users to interact with the virtual world in a more natural and realistic way, providing an unobtrusive and immersive experience in virtual reality. It features five pairs of haptic feedback modules, one for each finger, which are controlled wirelessly to sense the virtual object in terms of shape, size, and stiffness.

When using HaptGlove, users can sense contact as their avatar’s hand touches, grasps, and manipulates virtual objects by using a microfluidic pneumatic indenter to deliver real-time pressure to the user’s fingertips. The glove can also simulate the shape and stiffness of the object the avatar is touching, by restricting finger positions, adding realism to the virtual interaction experience.

HaptGlove uses proprietary software developed by the NUS research team to achieve a visual-haptic delay of fewer than 20 milliseconds. This is faster than conventional haptic gloves and provides a near-real-time user experience. The latest prototype is also more comfortable to wear, weighing only 250 grams, much lighter than commercially available haptic gloves that weigh over 450 grams.

The HaptGlove project was initiated by Lim and his team in 2019 and it took two years to develop a prototype. To evaluate the device’s performance, a group of 20 users was recruited to wear the glove to sort four virtual balls of varying stiffness in the virtual world. Apart from achieving over 90% accuracy in completing the tasks, the users said that HaptGlove significantly enhanced realism in VR and improved their overall experience, compared to devices using vibration motors.

Besides gaming, the HaptGlove could be used in applications in the fields of medicine and education, such as assisting surgeons to better prepare for an operation by simulating a hyper-realistic environment or giving students a hands-on learning experience by simulating palpation on different body parts.

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Qlik’s vision is a data-literate world, where everyone can use data and analytics to improve decision-making and solve their most challenging problems. A private company, Qlik offers real-time data integration and analytics solutions, powered by Qlik Cloud, to close the gaps between data, insights and action. By transforming data into Active Intelligence, businesses can drive better decisions, improve revenue and profitability, and optimize customer relationships. Qlik serves more than 38,000 active customers in over 100 countries.

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CTC Global Singapore, a premier end-to-end IT solutions provider, is a fully owned subsidiary of ITOCHU Techno-Solutions Corporation (CTC) and ITOCHU Corporation.

Since 1972, CTC has established itself as one of the country’s top IT solutions providers. With 50 years of experience, headed by an experienced management team and staffed by over 200 qualified IT professionals, we support organizations with integrated IT solutions expertise in Autonomous IT, Cyber Security, Digital Transformation, Enterprise Cloud Infrastructure, Workplace Modernization and Professional Services.

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Planview has one mission: to build the future of connected work. Our solutions enable organizations to connect the business from ideas to impact, empowering companies to accelerate the achievement of what matters most. Planview’s full spectrum of Portfolio Management and Work Management solutions creates an organizational focus on the strategic outcomes that matter and empowers teams to deliver their best work, no matter how they work. The comprehensive Planview platform and enterprise success model enables customers to deliver innovative, competitive products, services, and customer experiences. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, with locations around the world, Planview has more than 1,300 employees supporting 4,500 customers and 2.6 million users worldwide. For more information, visit www.planview.com.

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SIRIM is a premier industrial research and technology organisation in Malaysia, wholly-owned by the Minister​ of Finance Incorporated. With over forty years of experience and expertise, SIRIM is mandated as the machinery for research and technology development, and the national champion of quality. SIRIM has always played a major role in the development of the country’s private sector. By tapping into our expertise and knowledge base, we focus on developing new technologies and improvements in the manufacturing, technology and services sectors. We nurture Small Medium Enterprises (SME) growth with solutions for technology penetration and upgrading, making it an ideal technology partner for SMEs.

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HashiCorp provides infrastructure automation software for multi-cloud environments, enabling enterprises to unlock a common cloud operating model to provision, secure, connect, and run any application on any infrastructure. HashiCorp tools allow organizations to deliver applications faster by helping enterprises transition from manual processes and ITIL practices to self-service automation and DevOps practices. 

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IBM is a leading global hybrid cloud and AI, and business services provider. We help clients in more than 175 countries capitalize on insights from their data, streamline business processes, reduce costs and gain the competitive edge in their industries. Nearly 3,000 government and corporate entities in critical infrastructure areas such as financial services, telecommunications and healthcare rely on IBM’s hybrid cloud platform and Red Hat OpenShift to affect their digital transformations quickly, efficiently and securely. IBM’s breakthrough innovations in AI, quantum computing, industry-specific cloud solutions and business services deliver open and flexible options to our clients. All of this is backed by IBM’s legendary commitment to trust, transparency, responsibility, inclusivity and service.

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