Researchers at National Chengchi University and National Taiwan University are working on a controller that uses virtual reality and faux fur to mimic the sensation of nestling a digital feline, following in what could be regarded as the newest haptic device in development.
HairTouch, as referred to by the research team, features a unique but complex design. By controlling the direction and length of a small patch of fake fur attached below the user’s index finger, the device can replicate the sense of petting a furry animal in virtual reality. As the user strokes the animal in VR, the controller changes the length and position of the fur to their real-world movements using a Vive Tracker.
The HairTouch device, apart from the fur, can also be used to simulate other surfaces in virtual reality settings.
HairTouch is a prototype device that is in its early development stage. Therefore, a commercial release could not be expected anytime sooner. However, once the technology comes to its age, a more streamlined device can be launched for users that could be used for various purposes.
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