The movements of our body can control and live in a virtual reality thanks to the use of increasingly updated hardware and software. But what is virtual reality? Virtual reality is a realistic and immersive simulation in a 360-degree three – dimensional environment . It, by its very definition, simulates our actual reality.
The progress of information technologies allows us to dive into photorealistic settings in real time, interacting with the objects present in them. Who among us hasn't tried the experience of living the adventures of our favorite superheroes thanks to VR gaming?
Despite the high costs of this new technology, virtual reality has a lot to contribute to our lives, whether in play or in education or business. The modern virtual reality systems available on the market to date have offered realism and immersion through the use of sight and hearing. And this is where we ask ourselves: the rest of our body?
This question and need was answered for the first time by the German company Holotron . To get in touch with a virtual world will no longer be just the eyes and ears but our whole body thanks to an exoskeleton that can feel and control all the forces that the avatar feels. The most interesting and innovative thing is that this mechanism reflects in our body the resistance, inertia and speed that are generated in the virtual world, to make us feel that we are there.
Holotron: total immersion in virtual reality
The mind behind the first prototype of a working system for walking in a virtual reality is that of Marcel Reese who stated: “The problem I tried to solve with the Holotron is how to create a virtual world indistinguishable from real life” .
The exoskeleton in question allows you to stimulate the entire lower part of the body. It is like being another reality, in which you can walk, skate, swim, jump, fly. The Holotron allows you to even experience the physical sensations of jumping or being suspended in the air.
This exoskeleton has two independent motors for each leg, one for each knee and two more for the hip. The legs are placed in a sturdy frame covered with sensors that work at low latency to track leg movements, providing resistance and strength of movement where appropriate. Of course it does not stand out for its beauty but it is a first starting point. What should we expect for the future?
The final version will have five motors for each leg, and possibly later for arms as well . If nowadays a significant part of the platform body is made of wood, engineers are considering creating a more compact metal version that will not be mounted on a wall, but installed on the floor and suspended. Subsequent updates, Reese says, will give "high resolution tactile feedback for all parts of the body, thermal feedback, smell and taste."
The future of Holotron
As with all new technologies that arise, the main question is: What are the possible applications? Reese argues that this more immersive VR system could range from gaming to professional training. An immediate goal is regular walking, while in the more distant future there is the possibility of improvement for other types of movement such as crawling, jumping, climbing, riding, swimming, sailing or even spending time in microgravity in space .
"There are many applications for remote-controlled humanoid robots," Reese said. “This includes moving to hazardous environments, remote industrial repairs, remote medical services or simply remote work in general, where anyone could work anywhere instantly. Many common journeys and commutes could be reduced by using teleoperators. "
Article by Alessia de Musso
The article Holotron: an exoskeleton to immerse yourself in virtual reality comes from Tech CuE .