The Final Frontier In Virtual Reality? Hacking Your Muscles

Tiny bursts of electrical stimulation could help users feel walls and spaces in VR. Lopes and his team found that they could use the wearer’s own muscles against them, artificially creating a counter force, or the feeling of resistance to a physical object, by triggering the opposing muscles. The same setup can also enable the wearer to “hold” a large cube in virtual reality or press a virtual button–while using only a small wearable device hooked up to electrodes that are stuck to the user’s skin.

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There is much work being done on improving sensors to place them on watches and other wearables to measure what humans feel and how they react to real life situations. The next logical step is of course for digital systems to modify human behavior. This is a very young field of research along with exoskeletons and other devices. But it can have a huge impact to make AR, VR, healtcare and fitness applications possible.

Farid Mheir