Robot Brings The Feeling Of Touch To Virtual Reality

Jul 27, 2016 at 2:00 PM ET

Virtual reality is a blast, but it’s a little heavy on the “virtual” and a little light on the “reality”.

Because nothing in the virtual reality environment actually exists, you can’t touch or feel it. I guess virtual reality is a little bit like love. Sad face.

A PhD student at Queen’s University Belfast decided to create a robot which would create the illusionary feeling of touching virtual objects, the first step along a long timeline of making “The Matrix” a reality. As the user pushes a wooden box in virtual reality, the robot simulates the resistance of pushing a real box. We’re not at the stopping-bullets-with-the-power-of-your-mind stage just yet. Give us time.

The concept lets the user ‘feel’ virtual objects. The robot cost $25,000 to make, which is a lot of money, so you’ll have to use your imagination for a while yet. Again, just like love.

Despite the cost, the researchers who created it are paving the way to make the virtual reality experience more real than ever before.