New Wearable Skin Enhances VR

Swiss scientists have developed an ultra-thin second skin that gives the wearer touch feedback without vibration.

Wearable VR Skin / Image: EHFPL
Wearable VR Skin / Image: EHFPL

If you’ve ever tested an Oculus virtual reality headset, you know that the technology is still in its infancy and is far from a realistic experience. However, a recent Tom’s Guide article discussed a new development that could prove to be a giant leap forward for VR. Scientists at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne have created wearable skin that deforms and adapts to the wearer’s moving body. The skin gives touch feedback, enabling people to touch and be touched in VR. The ultra-thin material is less than 500 nanometers thick and equipped with pneumatic actuators that give the illusion you’re touching a real object.

The prototype gives touch feedback in real time and won’t inhibit movement. When the actuators are activated, they inflate the membranes to simulate touch but won’t stop you from moving your hands beyond the surface of the object. The team behind the second skin hasn’t specified a timeline for mass production, but you can watch a video demo here in the meantime.

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