At the 2019 World Haptic Conference, Facebook showed a prototype of a haptic VR / AR worn on the wrist device called “Tasbi”.
The device was created by a team of six researchers at Facebook Reality Labs along with a graduate student from Rice University.
Tasbi are worn on each wrist. It uses a combination of vibrations and compression (dynamic tension control) to simulate haptic feedback for virtual objects. Each “tactor” in the range includes an individual linear actuator, so vibrations can be precisely controlled.
Researchers found that visual tricks only slightly influenced perceived realism. A tactile device on the wrist provided most of the sensations, even if it did not touch the fingers.
Unlike previous attempts at this technique, each Tasbi in Tasbi uses a smooth pin, such that it is separated from the band, which, according to the researchers, produces “pure, uniform normal forces while maintaining the radial positions of the tactor”.
The device does not perform the finger tracking function by itself. This can potentially be done using computer vision software that analyzes images from cameras installed on the headset. Another interesting possibility is that the device can use a probing electrical signal to detect the position of the fingers. Facebook has researched this technology enough to file a patent earlier this year.
Of course, such a device would not in itself be a suitable direct replacement for touch controllers. Thus, the device is not very suitable for traditional games, given the lack of physical resistance, the thumb sensor or the button. However, if the haptic is as convincing as the researchers say, then Facebook can use the research together or as part of the next-generation version of the Oculus Touch. The company can also use it as a non-game controller for the future of the Oculus Go or even for upcoming AR-glasses.
A Facebook spokesman said that Tasbi research will be published “within a few weeks.”
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