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Microsoft patents a unique VR glove offering realistic haptics for objects

Microsoft has filed a patent for a virtual reality (VR) glove that gives wearers tactile sensations. But, the company is not sure about if and when the release will go through. Currently, there is not much hinting that it can be utilised for the Xbox Series X.

This does not signify that Microsoft’s VR glove is a useless endeavour. Virtual reality technology has slowly reached a stage where tech innovators are able to achieve realistic simulations within digital spaces. It does, however, resemble something that is somewhat rough around the edges. Looking past some resistance through haptic feedback, the large number of virtual reality controllers out there are not able to create precise simulations of the weight of items being held. However, based on information about Microsoft’s recent patent, the newly developed technology may seek to address this.

PatentlyApple initially discovered the patent earlier in April 2022. It was submitted to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) under the patent ID number EP3977239. Microsoft began development on its VR gloves back in 2019, then considering them as an attachment that facilitates enhanced VR interactions. According to the patent, the gloves would deliver tactile sensations to VR users whilst they are picking and holding up virtual items.

But, how does the glove VR technology manage to accomplish realistic tactical sensations? According to currently available information, the haptic feedback is supplied by incorporating motors and sensors present at the backside of the glove that forms some sort of a force application system. This mechanism helps to force input on the knuckles of a user, which will better simulate object interaction. This patent specifies that it is intended for use cases such as gaming and professional ones.

Microsoft announced PIVOT, a  wrist-worn haptic virtual reality gadget that swings into the wearer’s hand for a more realistic throwing and grasping experience back in 2020. Whilst it is true, the VR glove’s design is very different from PIVOT’s. However, considering their similarities, there are indications that the former is based on earlier research.

The concept of the VR haptic glove is reminiscent of the once-famous Power Glove by Nintendo, which was an NES peripheral most widely known for its appearance in Fred Savage’s 1989 film The Wizard. The Power Glove was made to allow users to use their hand gestures to play games. However, the device had known issues mainly due to its clumsy controls. Hopefully, that will not be the case with the newly patented glove by Microsoft.

As of now, the VR gloves are just at the stage of their patent being filed. It might be a long time before the product can make an appearance in retail for customers to purchase. Since a large number of patented goods never get a market release, users who are expecting to get their hands on them should be a little skeptic. This might even be a development for the engineers of the company to utilise in their research efforts.

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