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VR concept. Young african man wearing virtual reality goggles, isolated on pink background
Damir Khabirov via Getty Images

For years, researchers have been trying to bring improved haptics to virtual reality (VR) experiences. We’ve seen haptic suits from companies like bHaptics and Tesla, as well as VR boots, gloves and other handheld devices. Now, a team of researchers from Carnegie Mellon University is ready to introduce a new approach. Their wearable device connects users’ hands to their shoulders via spring-loaded cables. The researchers claim that the product, Wireality, can better simulate objects in VR.

The device sits on users’ shoulders, and the spring-loaded cables attach to each fingertip and a few points on the hand. Gears inside Wireality lock to create resistance, and the design takes advantage of the users’ upper body mass to simulate heavy and fixed objects. Wireality could make flat and curved VR surfaces, like walls and railings, more lifelike. It could also allow users to interact with touchscreens and buttons in ways that haptic systems with only vibrational motors don’t allow.