What are Haptic Gloves?

Malcolm Tatum

Haptic gloves are part of the equipment that is being used in the development of a wide range of virtual reality devices. Essentially, the haptic glove is a mechanism that is shaped like the human hand. As with any glove, haptic gloves allow for the insertion of the human hand and the easy movement of the fingers. However, haptic gloves also contain electronic wiring and devices that help to stimulate sensation and allow for an interface with electronic images.

Woman holding a disc
Woman holding a disc

The function of haptic gloves is usually built around two main applications. In one type of interactive activity, the gloves allow the wearer to receive stimulation along the fingertips that mimics actual physical contact with an object or another person. The sensations are connected to an electronic simulation, such as in a video game. Haptic technology allows the individual wearing the gloves to not only view the virtual simulation, but also to physically interact with it.

Along with allowing for the creation of an artificial sense of touch, haptic gloves also allow the wearer to move the fingers and impact the movement within the virtual simulation. Thus, the wearer is able to use the gloves to help the virtual self move around in the virtual reality and interact with the other elements of the reality. The sense of movement and touch will seem perfectly natural to the person wearing the gloves, and can be very entertaining.

A wide range of applications for the use of haptic gloves in the development of virtual reality devices is currently taking place. The potential applications include medical simulations that can be used in training a new generation of healthcare professionals, the development of a number of next generation video games, and even in the production of personal adult entertainment devices. Feedback on these new applications are often sought by the developers, which is making it possible to refine the devices before they are offered to the general public.

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