A team of scientists at the Hasso Plattner Institute in Germany built a wearable that uses electrical muscle stimulation deliver sensation to player’s muscles. It works in a similar way to the kinds of stimulation that physical therapists apply to their patients.

electric muscle stimulation vr

Haptics for Walls and Heavy Objects in Virtual Reality

The team discovered a way to use people’s own muscles against them, creating an artificial counter force, or a resistance feeling towards physical objects, by triggering people’s opposing muscles. This technology can also allow people to hold large objects or press buttons in VR while using this device connected to electrodes attached to people’s skin.

“In this project, we explored how to add haptics to walls and other heavy objects in virtual reality. Our main idea is to prevent the user’s hands from penetrating virtual objects by means of electrical muscle stimulation (EMS).”

The setup features up to eight electrodes attached to each shoulder, triceps, bicep, and forearms. These electrodes are connected to a medical muscle stimulator controlled by the Virtual Reality simulator. The device can be easily worn in a backpack but the team realizes there is a lack of appeal in the product, but they assure a commercial version would look much better.

This new technology will allow players explore more immersive virtual environments in the future. You will no longer feel like a ghost passing through walls and objects and no feeling anything. Haptic feedback with electric muscle stimulation can provide a whole new level or realism never seen before in gaming.

Source: Hasso-Plattner-Institut

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