VR controllers still have limitations where creating better immersion is concerned. Pressing a button isn’t the same as using your fingers to pick up an object in-game, but BeBop Sensors seems to have come up with a solution for that. With a focus on fabric sensor technology, the company recently announced what it calls the “world’s first” haptic glove designed for the Oculus Quest—the Forte Data Glove.
The gloves themselves have both hand tracking hand haptic feedback technology (aka the gloves will vibrate when you touch something in-game), which BeBop Sensors says creates a more realistic VR experience and allows users to feel different textures. Unlike the Nintendo Power Glove, these gloves themselves are more like straps that cover the full length of your fingers and anchor around the tips. They kind of look like a combination of Keanu Reeves’ VR gloves from Johnny Mnemonic and Seven of Nine’s Borg exo-glove from Star Trek Voyager. The company says they are one-size-fits-all.
The Oculus Touch controllers connect to the top of the gloves with an adapter, which allows the Forte Data Glove’s technology to integrate with with Touch controller’s 3D tracking. We haven’t tested this glove/controller combination, but I can only wonder how “natural” the weight of a controller on the top of your hand feels—and how smooth of an experience it is using the glove/controller combination, of course. Haptic feedback is also a bit of an emerging thing in gaming these days, but its current state leaves a lot to be desired.
Other specifications of the Forte Data Glove include a 160Hz sensor speed, an all-day battery life, and universal support for different development environments like Unity and Unreal. There are ten smart fabric sensors above each knuckle that provide a +/- 1.5 degree accuracy when bending your fingers, and there are a total of six haptic actuators, one for each finger and on the palm. The sensors are also waterproof, making the glove easy to clean.
It seems BeBop Sensors is more focused on training applications for its new glove at the moment, but the fact that its glove is designed specifically for the Oculus Quest (with Unity and Unreal development support) means game developers could very well incorporate this wearable VR tech into their games. (Much like these VR shoes.) I personally would find that more enjoyable than using a controller.