Scientists are developing an ultra-thin electronic “skin” that lets you experience touch virtually

A team of researchers has developed a “skin” that lets you touch things in VR. Led by researchers at City University of Hong Kong (CityU), “WeTac” is a thin, wearable, glove-like device that provides users with tactile feedback in VR and AR environments. The newly developed innovation has great application potential in virtual games, sports, technical training, social interaction or remote-controlled robots. Users can experience virtual objects in different scenarios, e.g. For example, grabbing a tennis ball during sports training or feeling a mouse walking on your hands during virtual games. Existing haptic gloves rely primarily on bulky pumps and air ducts powered and controlled via cords and cables, severely hampering the immersive experience of VR and augmented reality users. The newly developed WeTac overcomes these shortcomings with its soft, ultra-thin skin-integrated wireless electro-tactile system. The system consists of two parts: a miniaturized soft driver unit that attaches to the forearm as a control panel, and a hydrogel-based electrode hand patch as a haptic interface. The entire driver unit weighs only 19.2 grams and is small (5cm x 5cm x 2.1mm) enough to be arm mounted. According to the study, it shows “great flexibility” and “guarantees effective feedback” in different poses and gestures. Xinge believes this invention is a powerful tool to provide “virtual touch” and an inspiration for the development of the metaverse, human-machine interface (HMI) and other fields.

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