We’re experiencing an explosion of technology as companies and engineers work to address the issue of tactility the virtual world (VR). The latest VR headsets can provide a very authentic auditory and visual experience however, that immersion breaks in the event that users are in a position to not physically interact virtual objects. Created by a group made up of National Chengchi University researchers, ELAXO is an Arduino-controlled exoskeleton glove which provides a variety of force feedback options that can be utilized in VR applications.
ELAXO appears bulky and heavy -It’s similar to an exoskeleton glove composed of 3D printed struts and joints. In the setup that was demonstrated, ELAXO mounts to the user’s wrist. It features force feedback mechanisms that are attached to the thumb and the first two fingers. Each finger is fitted with four servo motors, four smaller DC motors and an additional DC motor. These motors are connected to joints and create physical resistance to movements.
Two fingers plus a thumb ELAXO requires 12 servos and 12 small DC motors and three big DC motors. Each finger requires the Infrared (IR) sensors, which is the sum of 3. Furthermore, the huge DC motors have encoders that require two wires. Controlling these requires a large number of I/O pins this is the reason the ELAXO team chose to use an Arduino Mega board for their prototype. The board controls the motors using eight TB6612FNG dual drivers.
The Arduino is the engine that powers the motors in accordance with what is happening within VR. VR world. For instance in the event that a person tries to reach out and touch an thing, the motors of the finger could receive full power to stop joints from stretching and provide a sense of strong resistance. Other actions, like turning the knob, produce less resistance. In order to gain granular control over the resistance of each joint ELAXO is able to provide powerful feedback of force.
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