Dexmo exoskeleton combines Virtual reality with haptic force feedback

The Dexmo exoskeleton allows its wearer to touch, grasp, and feel virtual objects as if they were real. A virtual baseball feels firm in the hand, an egg fragile. Pick up a digital rubber duck while wearing the Dexmo, and it can be squished pleasingly between the fingers.

The exoskeleton, designed by a team of seven young roboticists and engineers, uses five custom-built force-feedback units to apply torque to your fingers. These motors dynamically alter the direction and magnitude of the force in order to simulate a specific virtual object’s stiffness. In this way they provide light resistance when handling a soft object like a sponge or a piece of cake, and heavy resistance for a denser object, like a pipe or a brick. Tiny motors also provide haptic vibrations to your fingertips that simulate the impact of tapping a keyboard, or running your finger along a piece of rough concrete. The glove’s resistance is so powerful that it will physically prevent your fingers from penetrating through objects in VR.

Dexmo’s applications reach far beyond video games, according to Gu. The glove can work in any simulated 3-D environment and is compatible with all of the major VR headsets currently on the market. He also believes that the device will be useful in CAD design, allowing engineers to disassemble rockets and feel the size of each component, or in medical training, where trainee surgeons can perform more realistic operations. It could prove invaluable in training bomb disposal experts and help drastically reduce costs in mechanical maintenance training by providing students with access to otherwise prohibitively expensive parts that they can feel in their hands.

Dexmo captures the full range or your motion and provides force feedback Compare to other force feedback devices, Dexmo is very light. It can run on battery power and work wirelessly for a relatively long time. Dexmo captures 11 DoF of users’ hand motion. The mechanical linkage nature makes the readings much more robust compared to IMUs.

The force feedback ability allows the user to feel the size and shape of any digital object, which greatly improves immersion. Variable stiffness is achieved by precise motor control. With this feature, each virtual object can have their own stiffness.

SOURCES- Technology review, youtube, Dexta Robotics

About The Author