There were a variety of head-mounted displays (HMD) on show for virtual reality (VR) at the recent Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) but only a small portion of time was given to how people interact with the VR worlds on show. Oculus VR had Oculus Touch and Microsoft’s Xbox One controller and Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE) did show the PlayStation Move, but traditional sci-fi VR in the media has always been about gloves. To that end, Dutch company Manus Machina was at the event to demonstrate an alternative with its prototype data gloves.
Manus Machina is aiming to build a pair of wireless, flexible, finger-sensing gloves that are designed to be worn in conjunction with a VR headset, allowing gamers to ditch their joysticks and gaming controllers. Manus wants gamers to view and manipulate their hands and fingers within virtual environments.
Talking to TechCrunch, Co-founder Stephen van den Brink says, “It’s basically a glove that accurately tracks what your hand is doing. It’s using flex sensors on each fingers, so it senses the bending of the fingers. And it uses an IMU module on the back of the hand which tracks the rotation, the yaw, the downward rotation of the hand. It has nine degrees of freedom,”
Previous examples of data gloves have focused on niche markets, like scientific research whereas Manus wants to create a main stream product with a price to match. Van den Brink goes on to say, “Data gloves already exist… a lot of universities already made a glove… and there are a lot of mock-up data glove suits already around. But they cost $10k up for each glove.”
The company is hoping to have development kit versions of the gloves in “two to three months,” van den Brink says, which will cost $280, with the consumer version around $200 when it launches next year, either in Q1 or Q2 2016.
VRFocus will be following any future announcements from Manus Machina regarding the Data Gloves.