Sony has patented a haptic virtual-reality glove

Sony has patented a virtual reality glove device.

Originally filed in March 2015, the patent notice describes the invention as “dynamic gloves to convey [a] sense of touch and movement for virtual objects in HMD rendered environments”, adding realism to virtual-reality games by sending haptic feedback to a player’s hands and fingers.

“One of the rapidly growing technologies in the field of human-computer interaction is various head-mounted displays (HMDs), which may be worn on a user’s head and which have one or two displays in front of the one or two of the user eyes,” the documentation reveals (thanks, GamesRadar). “This type of display has multiple commercial applications involving simulation of virtual reality including video games, medicine, sport training, entertainment applications, and so forth. In the gaming field, these displays may be used, for example, to render three-dimensional (3D) virtual game worlds.

“Although much advancement has occurred in the HMD field, the technology still needs advancement to bring physical reality to real user interactions with virtual objects rendered in virtual environments presented in HMDs.”

As such, Sony’s solution is to develop “a system and method of using a peripheral device for interfacing with a virtual reality scene generated by a computer for presentation on a head-mounted display”. Receiving instructions from the computer or console, that feedback is translated into the haptic device “to correspond to a user’s virtual interactions with a virtual object in the virtual reality scene as presented on the head-mounted display.”

While a patent by no means intimates a product will actually come to market, it’s interesting to see that Sony is looking beyond just visual virtual-reality immersion. Remarkably, the filing even states the device will be able to give a “response to being held, a response to being moved, a response to being crushed, a response to being tossed, a response to being dropped, a response to being felt, a response to being rubbed, a response to being squeezed, a response to being pressed”.

Sony’s not the only company exploring experimental peripherals. It was recently revealed that Microsoft has patented an Xbox controller design that would enable players with visual impairments to input and receive commands in Braille. Filed almost two years ago now, the controller design looks similar to its Elite controller, but its six rear paddles would enable players to input commands in Braille by attributing each paddle to one of the six raised dots that make up each distinctive Braille character and/or contraction.

About Vikki Blake

It took 15 years of civil service monotony for Vikki to crack and switch to writing about games. She has since become an experienced reporter and critic working with a number of specialist and mainstream outlets in both the UK and beyond, including Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, IGN, MTV, and Variety.

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