Microsoft Research Engineers presented a tactile PIVOT controller that lets you feel the weight and resistance of objects in VR.
The device is attached to the wrist and is a hinge with a small motor and a tactile handle. When the VR tracker detects that a person’s hand should come into contact with a virtual object, the handle moves into the palm with the necessary force, simulating the weight of the object and the speed of its fall. The video below allows you to visually evaluate the controller’s work.
PIVOT reportedly allows you to interact with virtual objects in various ways – picking up, catching and throwing, and moving. When the hand is at a distance of 30 cm from the object, the PIVOT moves the hinge to the starting position, and at a distance of 10 cm, the handle begins to move in proportion to the speed of the hand movement and at the right moment is in the palm.
Two PIVOT controllers can be used in pairs to simulate two-handed holding of large objects.
Unlike existing hand-held tactile controllers and gloves, PIVOT leaves the user’s palm free when not in use. Thus, the user can, for example, type on the keyboard and interact with other objects in the real world, and at the right time activate PIVOT with one hand movement. This can be useful when interacting with mixed or augmented reality.
This is not the first such project by Microsoft Research. Previous projects in the direction of devices for touching objects in virtual reality: controller NormalTouch allowed you to touch and feel the virtual world with your index finger, CLAW – feel that he grabbed the object with his fingers, as well as feel its elasticity, and TORC brought the tangibility of virtual objects to the next level in terms of more natural interaction. Now is the time for PIVOT, which represents another step forward in creating a convenient and versatile controller for sensually interacting with VR objects.
Alas, there is no specific information about the plans for the commercialization of the new development.