Touch the virtual reality: a Leap Motion for hand tracking and wearable devices for haptic rendering

We present a novel haptic system for immersive virtual reality interaction. It consists of a Leap Motion controller and five wearable tactile devices. The Leap Motion controller is a small USB peripheral device that uses two monochromatic IR cameras and three infrared LEDs to track the position of the fingertips in 3-D space. It observes a hemispherical area up to a distance of 1 m with an accuracy up to 0.01 mm. Each wearable tactile device is composed of two platforms: one placed on the nail side of the finger and one in contact with the finger pulp, connected by three cables. One small servomotor controls the length of the cables, thus being able move the platform towards or away from the fingertip. As a consequence, a normal force can be displayed at the user’s fingertip. Each device is connected to a wrist bracelet, providing power and wireless connection to an external computer. With respect to our previous haptic virtual reality system [Meli et al. 2014], we greatly improved the form-factor of the wearable devices employed. This allows us to easily track up to five wearable tactile devices. Moreover, the Leap Motion controller is now being bundled into the new high-end ASUS notebooks.
In the next future you will thus only need the wearable tactile devices to be able to literally touch the virtual reality!