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Microsoft has been showing off their VR research over the last week and today we have a rather futuristic-looking device, the Haptic Revolver.
Despite the name, the Haptic Revolver is actually not for shooting at virtual enemies but offers a way to present different surfaces and controls to a user’s fingers by turning the “revolving” segment at the front.
Also knows as the Wheel, it uses an actuated wheel that moves up and down to render touch contact with a virtual surface and spins to render shear forces and motion as the user slides along a virtual surface. The controller is designed so that the index finger rests in a groove along the wheel’s axis. When a user touches a virtual surface, the wheel rises to contact the fingertip, its rotation simulating the friction of the fingertip with the virtual surface based on the speed of the hand motion along the surface.
Users who got to test the Haptic Revolver reported a convincing haptic sensation corresponding to visual hand motion. Even when they moved their hand freely around a virtual surface while the rendered wheel motion was limited to horizontal direction, users reported the haptic feedback to be quite realistic.
The Haptic Revolver was developed by the researchers, working closely with Eric Whitmire, an intern from the University of Washington. Read more about their work at Microsoft here.