You can now kiss in the metaverse: new VR headset sends life-like sensations to your lips, teeth and tongue
You can now kiss in the metaverse: new VR headset sends life-like sensations to your lips, teeth and tongue.
The Metaverse has been touted as a place where people will be able to live out their fantasies – whether that’s fighting their enemies on a battlefield, going on a date with the woman of their dreams, or buying a dream mansion.
But for these experiences to be truly immersive, it’s not just about what you can see and hear in the metaverse, but also what you can feel.
Now scientists in Pennsylvania have revealed a steamy new technology that makes it possible to ‘kiss’ someone in the metaverse by sending life-like sensations to your lips, teeth and tongue.
The scientists have modified a virtual reality (VR) headset by fitting it with haptic technology, meaning it simulates touch by applying forces, vibrations and motions.
It uses a thin array of transducers integrated into the underside of the VR headset that direct ultrasound energy at different parts of the mouth.
As well as kissing sensations, the tech could be used to drink from a virtual water fountain or take a puff from a cigarette.
New Headset Technology
The prototype headset, which is an adapted Oculus Quest 2, has been developed by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University’s Future Interfaces Group in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Importantly, the modified headset doesn’t require any equipment to be put up against or into a user’s mouth; instead, the components are rested above the nose.
According to the team, the mouth has been largely overlooked as a haptic target in VR and augmented reality (AR), despite being second in terms of sensitivity behind the fingertips. Usually, haptic feedback applies vibrations to a person’s hands via controllers, often in video games to match the gameplay (such as feeling a vibration in FIFA when a football strikes the post).
‘Proximity of the mouth to the headset offers a significant opportunity to enable on- and in-mouth haptic effects, without needing to run wires or wear an extra accessory,’ the researchers say.
‘We developed a thin, compact, beamforming array of ultrasonic transducers, which can render haptic effects onto the mouth
WHAT IS HAPTIC FEEDBACK?
Haptic feedback applies vibrations to the gamer to match a virtual experience, such as a game. Haptic feedback is similar to vibrations from mobile phones or game controllers, that lets the user feel that something is working. When directed at additional points of a user’s body, other than just the hands, it can make a virtual experience more immersive.