Korean tech innovators bHaptics have always been on the cutting edge of haptic technology and their latest announcement is no different. Riding on the coattails of a renewed interest in the metaverse, the new haptic gloves are causing ripples throughout the industry.
What is the TactGlove?
The new product is called TactGlove, and it builds on the strong foundation that came with the Tactosy. This particular product is a pair of gloves that provide haptic feedback for your fingers in a much more fine-grained way. The individual feedback that you can receive on each finger makes for precise and immersive interactions that will make things even more realistic when interacting in VR.
Much like all of the bHaptics products, the gloves are completely wireless, relying on a battery installed on the back of the wrist. The feedback on the fingertips is created by a small linear resonant actuator (LRA) motor and this is all wrapped up in light but robust fabric that will keep everything tight and secure.
What’s quite special as well is that because the gloves are so tight, they don’t need additional hand-tracking sensors in the product themselves. Instead, if you have a VR device like the Oculus Quest 2 which can track hands, it’ll still work as before.
From a software perspective, each fingertip can be controlled using the bHaptics SDK which will undoubtedly become a key framework for content developers to work with as things advance over the next couple of years. There are already a few apps that are natively supported, but the tidal wave of the others is surely on its way.
Kiuk Gwak, the CEO of bHaptics, had this to say:
“We are committed to connecting people through the haptic technology and TactGlove truly marks a milestone in that sense because it allows people to have a realistic interaction not only with virtual objects but also with their friends and colleagues in VR/AR settings at a very affordable price. We are excited to see changes that TactGlove will bring to virtual interaction as we move into the Metaverse era.”
What does this mean for the industry?
This is big news for the training industry – especially for those employees who work practically with their hands. Until now, the VR training modules have offered some feedback for practical training modules, but many have lacked the precision to actually offer hyper-realistic training opportunities. The TactGlove changes that by offering incredibly precise finger-by-finger feedback that should serve to greatly improve the usefulness of VR-based training applications.
Workers who need to train in difficult environments, on dangerous tasks, or highly specific manoeuvres will find that these gloves provide a significant boost to the realism. It will take some time to work the code into devices and applications but it’s a sign of where the industry is going. To this the fact that it can seamlessly integrate into an existing hand-tracking workflow and it becomes that much more powerful.
It’s worth noting that the price is a premium one for a VR accessory, but it should come down as the product finds its feet in the marketplace. Even at its current price, the value potential is still high. Companies who are able to leverage its precision and instant feedback will find a lot to be gained.