Haptic Gloves for Quest 2 Are a Small Step Toward Vr You Can Touch

My first effort at using DIY VR haptic gloves was clumsy. I put a pair of knitted gloves and gingerly screwed in scabbards on the backs of enormous, plastic rechargeable batteries, adjusting small plastic tips.

Over my mittens, I slid Oculus Quest 2 controllers into slots. Then, for several minutes, I was trying to pick up robotic components, pressing buttons, and pulling levers in VR – and, strangely, I felt miniature wires tugging back on my fingertips, somewhat like puppet strings.

As my fingertips brushed across and smashed a virtual Coke can, I felt snapping friction. I could feel something resembling what I was doing with my fingertips.

The SenseGlove Nova haptic gloves I used are not for the average Quest 2 user. First and foremost, the gloves cost around $5,000. Second, they are incompatible with any of Quest’s standard applications and games.

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After putting the Quest 2 in the initial stages of a project, I had to sideload a sample program designed to operate with the gloves, which can then be Bluetooth linked to the Quest 2.

The gloves are primarily intended for use with Windows VR and AR headsets, but they will also function with Quest headsets.

But the gloves raise one of the strangest difficulties in VR presently: how can novel controls grow into something that everyone can find helpful and use?

Handy Extensions for Virtual Reality

The present VR environment is littered with enjoyable gaming headgear that can’t be worn for long periods and is outfitted with controllers that resemble game system gamepads for your wrists.

The Quest 2 controllers resemble other VR controllers, and while they contain analog sticks, keys, and even monitor some finger movements, they’re designed for games and possibly fitness, not work.

Hand tracking without controllers is already possible with the Quest 2 and some other VR and AR Devices, but accurate controls are still difficult to achieve without any physical inputs. Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 is already many years old and solely employs hand tracking. Physical input, such as vibration, is seen as a vital next step by its creator, Alex Kipman.

Meta, the parent company of Facebook, thinks the same way and has already described future research efforts to develop wrist-worn tactile feedback bracelets that can recognize brain impulses, as well as bigger haptic gloves that employ air bladders to produce a feeling of touch.

Haptic gloves

HaptX, for example, already manufactures sophisticated haptic gloves that provide a range of touch sensations, but the gloves cost big bucks. I’ve never used HaptX gloves before (I hope to). So far, the SenseGlove Nova is the nearest I’ve come.

The SenseGlove Nova is less expensive (relatively) and wireless, whereas other greater haptic gloves are not.

They employ a mix of little cables that pull back on my fingers as I lift them, imitating restriction and vibrations that feel similar to the beeps on any smartwatch, phone, or gaming controller.

The gloves were brought to my residence in a little suitcase. They’re strange, a touch hefty, and have a few hand-fastening clips. They have the feel of ski gloves, but with battery packs and hardware stitched in.

To add adequate motion detection to the gloves, VR controllers are still required: The Quest 2 controller mounts I installed are little plastic loops onto which the Touch controllers slip.

With the controllers on, the gloves seem a little hefty and strange. Also, correctly configuring and activating the app necessitates putting the gloves off and on, or asking for assistance.

Is It Possible to Touch Things? Kind of, Not Really, and Occasionally

When I reach out to touch objects in the app, it seems familiar from my previous Oculus experience; after all, conventional hand tracking performs comparable things. When I come into contact with virtual objects, I notice a difference.

I feel a tug on my fingertips like a puppeteer is tugging back the marionette strings on my fingers. There’s also a clicky type of vibration. It might seem glitchy or like you’re making contact. In my little demonstration, the synchronization with in-world items isn’t always precise.

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I don’t have the sensation of being able to “feel” the edges of objects or the delicacy of an object. I’d have no notion what any of these sensations meant if I were blindfolded.

It’s now intended to be more of a useful feedback mechanism in the otherwise sensation-free realm of hand tracking. The use of Quest controllers for tracking enhances tracking accuracy over the use of in-headset webcams to look for your hands and fingers.

How Will Things Improve Shortly?

My main issue about VR for things like “work” or utilizing headsets as a kind of screen for my PC is… Can it get much better than those clumsy controllers? Taking them out and switching to hand monitoring works, but it’s not ideal.

HTC is releasing wrist-worn Vive Wrist Trackers this year to improve hand tracking in VR, although they’re geared for business usage and don’t feature any vibrating haptics.

Wrist trackers for AR/VR from Facebook/Meta may be years away. Experimenting with work programs like Horizon Workplaces, which impressively attempted to translate my laptop keyboard and screen into VR, can work… occasionally.

Haptic gloves are a VR fantasy as ancient as the cyberpunk stories I read as a kid, or any Ready Player One-style VR paradise or dystopia.

Having said that, I was happy with removing the gloves after a few moments of demoing, carefully sliding my fingers out of the gloves, being mindful of the gaps between the plastic and wires. We’re not quite there yet.

However, gadgets like the SenseGlove Nova demonstrate the challenges that remain in determining the best approach to sort it all out.

The Best Virtual Reality Headsets to Purchase in 2022

If you’re a gamer seeking to get into VR, the Quest 2 stays our top recommendation, especially with a recent boost in memory to 128GB on the $299 model, even though you’ll need a Facebook account to use it. The Quest 2 is also a solid entry point into VR that doesn’t appear to be going away anytime soon.

If you’re a PC gamer, a strong gaming PC-connected VR headset provides the most versatile selection of applications for a realistic VR experience while also allowing you to utilize the headgear for creative and commercial tools.

Best Standalone VR: Oculus Quest 2

Good: Self-identity and cordless; excellent touchpads; comfy gaming design; serves as a PC VR headset

Bad: Requires Facebook account

The Oculus Quest 2 provides virtual reality games and an interactive Virtual experience anywhere for $299 with nothing else required.

This virtual reality headset is quicker, smaller, less expensive, and more pleasant to use than the original Quest, but you must join Facebook to use it.

A new version of the Quest 2 increases capacity from $299 to 128GB and adds a silicone cover for the foam facepiece, after a recall notice of the foam coverings earlier this year due to facial irritation issues with a limited fraction of users. Current Quest 2 owners are eligible for a complimentary silicone cover.

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Highest-resolution PC VR Headset: HP Reverb G2

Good: a sharp high-resolution display, excellent acoustics, and a comfortable design

Bad: Average controllers.

If you want the greatest visual quality in retail VR, HP’s latest VR headset is the winner. This VR technology may be the greatest option for dedicated gamers (or VR racing sim lovers).

The 2,160×2,160 per-eye quality and 114-degree field of view are the greatest in this budget range, and the lightweight, comfortable headgear also boasts superb Valve-designed drop-down speakers.

It’s a Microsoft Windows Mixed Vr headset that likes to debut in Microsoft’s Windows 10 VR environment, but it also connects with Steam VR and plays with those games and apps.

The built-in camera-based space-tracking is quicker to set up than the external base stations used by the Valve Index, but it is more vulnerable to tracking mistakes.

The bundled controllers, which are based on Microsoft’s VR controller design, are clunkier than the Oculus Touch or Valve Index controllers. There’s also no headphone jack, so you’re stuck with the over-ear speakers.

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Advantages: Incredible modern controllers; high-quality headset; compatible with Vive hardware

Disadvantages: expensive; it necessitates the creation of a room and the use of a tethering wire.

Because of its sophisticated new controls, Valve’s headgear may be the most fascinating PC virtual reality encounter this year. Valve’s “knuckle” controllers are pressure-sensitive and can monitor all five fingers, resembling gloves.

Although not many programs take advantage of them yet, Valve’s hardware is functional with the HTC Vive, which is also built on the Steam VR platform. The Index headset boasts great acoustics and a super-clear, wide field-of-view screen.

The Index makes use of external “lighthouse” boxes, which must first be installed in a room. It’s not as self-personality as Oculus’ Rift S, which uses in-headset cameras to track the environment or the HTC Vive Cosmos.

It’s also not wireless, although if you already have some Vive gear, you could mix and match elements of the Index.

It’s Still Worthwhile for the Games: Playstation VR From Sony

Advantages: There are a lot of games; the pricing is lower; and it works with numerous PS4 controllers, including the DualShock and Move.

Disadvantages: The quality isn’t cutting-edge; Sony hasn’t yet produced superb VR controls that rival the competitors, although the latest iteration may be available next year.

Sony’s PSVR headset, which has been around for a while, is now the only head-mounted display for game consoles, and its display provides a very interactive experience.

However, Sony has revealed that it is working on a next-generation PSVR headgear for the PS5, along with a fresh set of controllers, which might be available in 2022 if you can wait that long.

Meanwhile, Sony has provided – and continues to supply – a slew of outstanding virtual reality titles, many of which are exclusives. All you need is the PSVR and a PlayStation 4 to get started.

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However, when compared to the alternatives, this VR system is starting to age. And, while the new PS5 will operate with the old PSVR, it will require your old PS4 controllers and camera, as well as a camera adaptor, to function.

Should I Put Off Purchasing a VR Headset Until 2022?

As previously said, there are several anticipated headsets for next year, including Meta’s Plan Cambria, PlayStation VR 2, and Apple’s secret product. There will undoubtedly be others.

VR is a developing technology, with businesses pushing for smaller items that can be linked to devices such as mobile phones. To avoid investing in obsolete equipment, it’s usually advisable to spend less money.

The Quest 2 is by far the greatest deal, and it also seems to be the finest headset with the most upside right now, as long as you’re okay with living under Meta’s metaverse canopy and Facebook’s data regulations.

What Should I Seek in a Virtual Reality Headset?

It depends on whether or not you’re linking to a PC, and whether or not you want to perform work with it. There are several Windows-compatible headsets available, however, their display resolution varies.

Higher is preferable, as is a wider field of view. Headsets can now refresh at speeds of up to 120Hz, and the quicker they can update, the more realistic and fluid the VR movement seems.

The majority of PC VR headsets use similar controller layouts and can connect to work software and applications. The Quest 2 currently has no competition in terms of portability or stand-alone comfort. 

The PlayStation VR is the only choice for players with a gaming system, but if you have a PS5, you’ll likely want to keep waiting until 2022 for the PSVR 2.

Consider the following app libraries: Oculus offers a lot of exclusive games, Windows-connected headgear has a lot of connectivity with business apps and innovative tools, and Sony’s PlayStation library also contains exclusive VR titles.

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