Earlier this year, Manus announced they’d be releasing a VR glove that promised to take handheld controllers out of the cumbersome process of gaming. Their high tech glove would allow gamers to use natural hand and finger motion as the game’s controllers. However, as Engadget has noted, the Manus VR glove won’t be able to give any tactile feedback to the gamer wearing it. This means that the glove will be limited to being used as a controller, but that’s essentially where its features stop.
So that’s where Dexmo comes in: They decided to create their mechanical exoskeleton glove. According to Roadtovr, this next generation VR input device will not only be used as a controller that allows you to interact with virtual object, but it will also feature 11 degrees of freedom of motion that will provide force feedback on each finger. To put it simply, the glove will allow you to “sense” the size and solidity of virtual objects, which will essentially let you “touch” virtual reality – adding to the sense of the reality of the game. It’s lightweight and wireless feature add to the willing suspension of disbelief: Dexmo wants the wearer to not feel as though they’re aware they’re wearing it.
When you wear Dexmo’s exoskeleton glove your virtual avatar will encounter virtual objects ranging from the solidity of a rock to the subtlety of a rubber duck. According to the video below, which Dexmo has released to display how this works in practice, the glove uses patented mechanics, precise motor control algorithms, and dynamic grasping handling software.
According to Engadget, Dexmo is a Chinese company that, before getting to this current version, had been working on over 20 prototypes for the past two years. However, CEO Aler Gu has been quick to suppress any hype over the product coming out for gamers stating that
Selling Dexmo is different than selling consumer electronics because you can’t use Dexmo right out of the box. It will take some really amazing content for people to realize how gaming-changing this innovation actually is.
With the arrival of HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, as well as PlayStation’s VR, it seems that VR gaming is now becoming more mainstream than ever. So Aler Gu of Dexmo is seeking some talented software developers as well as VR/MR (mixed reality) market leaders to help him market his product. Currently, Dexmo work by using two Vive controllers that are strapped onto the exoskeleton glove’s underside to provide positional tracking – it’s one area they’ve been looking to properly integrate.
Dexmo is also working on its software integration by using SDK that will allow developers to give virtual objects physical properties. Instead of communicating this information via WiFi or Bluetooth, Dexmo will use NRF wireless transceiver modules, which they claim will achieve somewhere around 25-50 ms of input. The exoskeleton gloves will be able to be paired with VR headsets. The release date is not yet set for this product, nor is the price – we can assume it will be a bit pricey though.