Plexus is a VR Glove With Finger Haptics & Multiple Tracking Standards, $250 Dev Kit Pre-orders Now Live

Plexus Immersive Corp, a San Francisco-based startup, announced a pair of VR gloves that integrate haptic feedback and interface with multiple tracking standards, including SteamVR, Oculus Rift, and Windows “Mixed Reality” VR. Dubbed Plexus, a pair of dev kit gloves will cost $250, and are now available for pre-order through the company’s website.

Plexus is made from a flexible silicone, which provides the internal electronics a measure of water resistance. The company says in a Reddit post that users will be able to rinse the glove under a tap for a quick wash. Dev kits are said to come with a pair of standard medium size gloves, although the company intends on providing smaller and larger sizes for the consumer launch, slated for sometime next year.
Like many VR gloves, haptic feedback is generated by linear resistant actuators (LRAs), which are similar to the vibrating motors found in game controllers and smartphones, but placed on each fingertip of the glove. The company says they’re currently working on replacing the LRAs with “new linear actuators that will offer a much wider range of tactile sensations though.”
Image courtesy Plexus Immersive
The company previously prototyped a model with force feedback, which would allow you to feel resistance when manipulating a virtual object, although it won’t be available in the current model.

In addition to directly manipulating virtual objects, the company is also investigating gesture tracking, something that would allow Plexus to emulate standard VR motion controllers, and be used in standard VR games not specifically created with the glove’s 21 degrees of freedom (per hand).
Image courtesy Plexus Immersive
While finger tracking is a standard feature of Plexus, absolute positional tracking (to determine where your hand is in 3D space) is offloaded to existent tracking standards. An interchangeable magnetic adapter plate mounted on the back of the hand lets you snap on various controllers, including Vive Tracker, Oculus Touch, Vive controllers, and Windows VR controllers. Plexus won’t arrive with a tracker/controller however, so it’s BYOC (bring your own controller).

Plexus Immersive is also currently prototyping a more ergonomic tracker, dubbed ‘halo’, which will effectively “replace” other purpose-built trackers and controllers. It’s unclear if the halo tracker will manufactured for both tracking standards—Oculus and SteamVR. The image of the halo tracker below appears to integrate SteamVR tracking sensors.
Image courtesy Plexus Immersive
“It features a much more ergonomic design and has better tracking stability when mounted on the hand. We’re not offering this just yet, however, as we’re still working on integrating with the various tracking solutions used by the different VR headsets,” the company says.

Dev kits, which are slated to start shipping in August this year, will arrive with free SDKs for both Unreal and Unity.

The gloves, at least from promotional material, appear to be really quite thin. This is hampered somewhat by the addition of current consumer trackers, but if the halo tracker can really provide tracking as accurate as the more bulky motion controllers, Plexus may be one of the first VR gloves to offer an all-in-one tracking design.
Specs

Measurement System: 21 Degrees of freedom per hand
Tactile Feedback: 5 (one per finger) tactile actuators
Wireless: 2.4GHz Custom Low Latency Protocol
Compatibility: Unity, Unreal Engine, C++, C#, Python
SDK: Unity and Unreal Engine haptic rapid application development toolkit, including drop in haptic hand rigs and interactive objects ready to use with developer artwork assets
Compatibility: VR Integration / tracking options: Vive, Oculus Rift, Windows Mixed Reality. Can be used with any Windows, Linux or Mac environment through the C++ and Python API
Battery life: 2 to 3 hours depending on feedback usage
Refresh rate: 180hz, engine synchronized for VR

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