By March 30, 2018 Read More →

Exiii’s EXOS system brings physicality to VR

The EXOS haptic feedback system allows designers to physically interact with their creations.

Earlier this year Japanese company exiii Inc. revealed its new wearable haptic interfaces in the form of the EXOS Wrist DK1 and EXOS Gripper DK1. These devices allow for the physical manipulation of objects in a VR/AR environment.

We’ve covered untethered VR as well as social VR functionalities in the past, with the move towards haptic feedback the latest in a line of technologies that seek to enhance the VR/AR experience.

Founded in 2014, exiii is a Japanese robotics company developing medical devices and prosthetics. It has developed two haptic devices simultaneously, the EXOS Wrist DK1 and EXOS Gripper DK1. The Wrist DK1 simulates the sensation of touching an object by sending specific instructions to the motors and exoskeleton mechanism, this data is then used to send a reactive force to the point of contact (the user’s finger in this case), providing the sensation of touching something.

The EXOS Wrist DK1 can simulate haptic feedback for the entire hand and forearm, allowing for a myriad of virtual applications. (Source: exiii Inc.)

Compatible with the HTC Vive and Oculus Touch controllers, the Wrist DK1 can be used in a myriad of use cases, which the developer describes as “event-based haptics.” On the company’s website, the developers have called their wrist device a tool for “touchable CAD.”

Exiii’s haptic feedback is built around a certain action or object that users can manipulate in a virtual environment. The act of firing a gun in a video game, for example, can now be accompanied with proper simulated recoil, or opening a door could have you turn a handle and push it open. A Unity SDK is included with the exiii EXOS development kit meaning developers will be able to create their own customized haptic-based experiences.

The EXOS Gripper DK1 also provides haptic feedback, but specializes in providing said feedback when manipulating virtual objects. The system supplies a counter force between the user’s thumb and index finger that can be used to pick up or move virtual objects around in a more natural manner. The Gripper essentially employs the same technology, but in a more scaled down manner as compared to the Wrist since it can only simulate haptic feedback related to ‘grasping’ something between the thumb and index finger, whereas the Wrist incorporates almost the entire forearm.

The EXOS Gripper DK1 can simulate haptic feedback when manipulating virtual objects between thumb and index finger. (Source: exiii Inc.)

While one can imagine a large number of use cases for such devices, exiii is marketing the EXOS Wrist and Gripper primarily towards enterprise clients at this stage. In this capacity these technologies can aid designers and industrial engineers to help ensure their creations feel as good as they look without having to print 3D molds of every component.

CEO and co-founder of exiii Inc., Hiroshi Yamaura stated, “[The] EXOS Wrist and Gripper can be used in many business areas, such as manufacturing, simulation, entertainment, and so on. We are very excited and are looking forward to working with developers who want to push the boundary of [the] XR (cross reality) experience.”

While no pricing options or other availability details have been released for the SDK or devices as of yet, interested companies are encouraged to contact exiii Inc. for more details regarding enterprise sales.

You can also check out the video below if you’d like to see the EXOS Wrist DK1 in action.

An introductory video exploring the concept of the EXOS Wrist DK1 simulating haptic feedback in a virtual environment. (Source: exiii Inc.)

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Posted in: Digital Reality, HWD

About the Author:

Johan is a journalist, history buff, and tech enthusiast who enjoys writing about science, technology, and gaming. He also scuba dives but that doesn't seem relevant.

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