The Gloveone: VR that Fits like a Glove

The Gloveone is a mobile haptic device worn on the hand that allows for haptic interaction with virtual objects, either on a screen or through a virtual reality HMD.

The device is pretty unassuming to look at, essentially it’s just a glove with vibrant green highlights. On the back of each glove there’s a puck-like “G” made of plastic, which lights up wit LEDs. Underneath this cover you’ll find the motherboard that houses the core technology of the Gloveone. The adjustable cuff contains a lithium polymer battery, making it a truly mobile solution.

The Gloveone employs multiple vibrotactile actuators. These provide a type of feedback known as vibrotactile feedback, but what is it? According to a paper by Talbi & colleagues:

“Vibro-tactile approaches use vibrating pins, voice coils, or piezoelectric crystals to provide tickling sensation to the human operator’s skin to signal the touch.”

This technology can produce a range of sensations. The weight of virtual objects. The feeling of pressing a button. Certain textures can be differentiated. Soundwave vibration through the hands, fluttering, raindrops and other similar feelings.

Apart from its haptic abilities, the Gloveone also provides independent tracking for each finger by way of six 3-axis inertial measurement units. On top of this a 3-axis unit measures the orientation of the hand as a whole.

There are two interfaces, one wireless and the other wired. Bluetooth 4 provides what the  developers term “low latency” tracking whereas USB provides “ultra” low latency tracking. Of course without specific latency figures these claims are relative and difficult to judge.

As with most virtual reality products in development or recently released the developers of the Gloveone have realised that the only chance to become widely used is through creating an open standard. As such the Gloveone has a application programmer interface (API) and software development kit (SDK) openly available so developers can easily incorporate support into their software.

Compared to something like the Dexmo F2, the Gloveone certainly would appear to be a sleeker product, although the type of haptic feedback each gives is qualitatively different.

The Gloveone is currently available for preorder as a developer edition and a kit that includes two gloves and theLeapmotion will run to about $400.

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