Physical contact is now possible in the metaverse

The metaverse is, by definition, virtual, but technology is constantly evolving to give a bit of reality to these digital worlds.

The metaverse never ceases to diversify. Between concerts, real estate investments and even the possibility of studying in a university, the digital world is about to become parallel to our reality. But while the presence of users is limited to simple avatars, it is now possible to touch its interlocutors in the metaverse.

And what a touch! The Future Interfaces Group team at Carnegie Mellon University in Pennsylvania found the means to allow two metaverse participants to embrace and feel the contact directly on the lips. For this, you simply need to equip a specially designed virtual reality helmet.

The proximity of the mouth to the helmet offers a significant opportunity to allow haptic effects on and into the mouth, without the need to pass filaments or wear an additional accessory. We have developed a thin and compact network of ultrasonic transducers in the form of shafts, which can produce haptic effects on the mouth.

Excerpt from the Future Interfaces Group article explaining how the helmet works

Source: Future Interfaces Group’s YouTube account

The sensations produced by the device can thus stimulate the contour of the mouth, lips, teeth but also the language. In their experience with volunteers, the Future Interfaces Group even managed to simulate the presence of a sponge running on the lips of the participants and the sensation of a liquid flowing against them. With such a tool, two avatars clinging to the metaverse could feel the exact stimuli obtained by a kiss. What favors virtual social relationships!

If, for most users, interaction with their environment is limited to supporting a button, new inventions will soon come to push this mode of action. Last November, the Meta company announced it had designed a handle that allows you to touch objects in the metaverse. Thanks to small air pockets that inflate and deflate around his hand, the user can feel the hold of an object in his hand or his contact with any other element present nearby.

Another Japanese company, H2L, has put on a glove that allows it to relieve muscle contractions. From what gives the impression of holding the hand of someone else and even feeling the pain. As for the University of Chicago, it offers to use a patch that allows you to feel the heat or the cold. It would therefore seem that immersion in the metaverse develops more and more and takes us directly into another world. It will nevertheless wait for these prototypes to evolve shortly before they are sold to the general public, if one day. Either way, the total immersion will be instantly reserved for VR headset holders, which will compel enthusiasts to invest. The very large public therefore risks having to stay on the touch bench and must therefore put their hands in their pockets to experience a little bit of realism in the metropolitan area.

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