VW Gets Good Results Using SenseGlove Nova Haptic Feedback Gloves in Assembly Training
Haptic gloves company Senseglove is partnering with Volkswagen on the use of the Senseglove Nova VR glove in vehicle manufacturing. The two have published a case study sharing their experiences on the use of the Nova haptic glove in vehicle assembly and according to the report, the results have been good.
Senseglove released its Nova haptic glove in 2021. The glove reportedly provides a powerful haptic simulation inside a very compact form factor. Volkswagen’s commercial vehicle division used the VR glove and subsequently published a report on their experience. The report delves into the advantages of virtual training with haptic gloves.
In an assembly training with virtual reality headsets, Volkswagen managed to save on costs as fewer trainees were required to attend in-house showrooms containing real vehicles. New employees didn’t require an expensive pre-series model at the beginning of the training and were even able to practice vehicle assembly in a home office. Only later did the trainees have to implement maneuvers they had learned in the virtual reality environment on real commercial vehicles.
Previously, the company had used virtual reality controllers in VR training. The advantage of VR-based training is that employees do not leave any scratch marks or damages on the pre-series model commercial vehicles that they are being trained on when they are doing this in the VR environment. On the flipside, interactions with VR controllers are not natural and intuitive which has a negative impact on the quality of the immersion, hence, the quality of training. For instance, with VR controllers, trainees cannot grasp and feel the size of objects as they would in the real world.
Additionally, conventional virtual reality controllers inhibit certain hand movements. Trainees will be unable to close their fingers or release objects again as realistically as they would with a haptic glove.
Haptic Gloves Replace VR Controllers and Improve Quality of Immersion
In the VW case study, the quality of immersion improves with the haptic gloves. Modern haptic gloves were used in the virtual installation of a sliding door on the T6 minibus during the training.
The Senseglove Nova is also an impressive haptic glove that contributed to the success of the deployment. Instead of the bulky artificial joints that characterize modern haptic gloves, the Nova glove has tendon-like threads that are moved by a motor situated on the back of the hand and are stopped by magnetic friction brakes. The gloves can simulate up to two kilograms of weights per finger. Voice call actuators situated on the thumb and forefinger imitate the tactile sensation through vibrations. Senseglove uses Vive trackers on the backs of the gloves to track position.
According to VW, its trainees who concluded the T6 vehicle assembly training found the SenseGlove Nova haptic gloves more realistic to work with than VR controllers as they could do more stuff such as touching things which made the experience a lot more realistic.
The Nova VR gloves enabled trainees to feel the parts that were being assembled as they grasped them and could determine the differences in size and density for each object.
According to the VW report, trainees could intuitively sense collisions by themselves and feel the subtleties of the parts they were assembling such as the vibration of drills when connecting parts. Overall, the virtual assembly created a very immersive and realistic training experience that was very close to physical training.