How do you make a Virtual Reality Glove? - Smarter Every Day 191

  • Published: 19 March 2018
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    There are tons of things I had never considered about how difficult it is to fool your brain into thinking it's touching something it's not. I think the most important technical issue to overcome is timing. Much like how your brain can understand hearing someone's voice AFTER seeing their lips move, but not the opposite... the lag time of the sense of touch is an important thing for your brain. Another thing I hand't considered is the "rise time" that has to do with internal stresses in your fingers. If you conceptualize your fingers as water balloons around bones, you can understand how the internal pressure of your fingers rise the harder you press something. This type of information coupled with the "Sensory Homunculus" make for some incredibly fulfilling thought experiments.

    The temperature question is something I'm particularly interested in. Using a colder fluid to model a room temperature fluid because of the heat transfer equation is a fascinating area of scientific problem solving. If you think it through, everything about this boils down to differential equations. How much heat is leaking out of the hand, and at what rate, through what contact area?


    Sensory / Cortical Homunculus

    Two Point Threshold

    I asked HaptX for a blurb to explain their company. This is what they came up with:

    HaptX is a multidisciplinary team of engineers based in San Luis Obispo, CA and Seattle, WA that builds advanced haptic technology. Their first product, HaptX Gloves, brings touch feedback to VR with unprecedented realism, enabling a new category of industrial training simulations. Founded by Jake Rubin and Dr. Bob Crockett in 2012, HaptX won’t stop until you can’t tell what’s real from what’s virtual. Learn more at

    If you're interested in working for them, here's a link:
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  • Science and Technology Science and Technology

Comments • 2 360

  • genralpompeyo generalpompeyo

    Great vid!

    • Enthusiastic Gamer
      Enthusiastic Gamer  1 weeks back

      "We're sacks of watery meat stuff."
      - Smarter Every Day

      • Hugo Friberg
        Hugo Friberg  1 weeks back

        2050 news: man dies of hypothermia from VR game

        • Kadam Alibakhsh
          Kadam Alibakhsh  2 weeks back

          Seeing Dustin think makes me feel smart

          • Ouchie
            Ouchie  2 weeks back

            Interesting that you have to censor the air feeding ribbon

            • TacticalStoner
              TacticalStoner  2 weeks back

              These guys are way to protective. Technology moves so fast this is already old news. I understand they dont want people to copy them but dont have dustin come interview you then because he will ask and you guys go erm can i answer that makes you look dumb.

              • Lego Sushi
                Lego Sushi  2 weeks back

                "Nobody cares about electrical engineers... I'm with Geoffrey, an electrical engineer."

                • morning1500
                  morning1500  4 weeks back

                  Hi, Destin. I THINK I have an answer for the thermal interactions... Peltier junctions. If current flows one direction the hot and cold sides will be one way. Reverse the current, and they flip over! Thus, you'd have one side of the junction touching your hand, and the other some kind of heat sink. This is where just a steady flow of water would be sufficient... you don't have the lag of the flow, or lags in changing the temperature, etc... the Peltier junction is against your hand, and can change very quickly, depending on the current flow and direction. By changing the "attack/decay/sustain/release" of the current, they can make the temperature change quickly, slowly, etc, and adjust your perception. NOTE: I have NO CONNECTION AT ALL with the folks at HAPTX, this is just MY THEORY about how this works... based on the limited information given here, and my own GEEK factor. :) Just FYI, I absolutely LOVED this video and the one before it... these are AMAZING and are my favorite of all the "Smarter Every Day" vids. :) God bless!!

                  • 45shfifty
                    45shfifty  1 months back

                    Peltier modules for heat change

                    • morning1500
                      morning1500  4 weeks back

                      I just saw this comment AFTER posting mine. ;)

                  • Felipe Furze
                    Felipe Furze  1 months back

                    We don't care about you Jeffrey

                    • Matt Kelly
                      Matt Kelly  1 months back

                      Gotta give it to these guys they went well out of there way to your answers and that struck me as very cool

                      • Gregor Tidholm
                        Gregor Tidholm  1 months back


                        • Souless Deeds
                          Souless Deeds  1 months back

                          When he talks about the thermal transfer in the glove and thinking its gotta be liquid cooling and heating. To be able to do that. I honestly first thought about the electrical process auto makers use to heat and cool seats in vehicles. Take my dads Ram 1500, he got all the bells and whistles. This was the first vehicle I had ever ridden in that had not just heated seats, because thats been around for a long time. But also cooling function as well. I had gone to school to auto and Diesel training. I am Ford certified. But I never worked on fords. I worked on Cummins engines and freightliner trucks. My dads truck has cooling option for his seats and when you hit the button its pretty quick about removing the heat from my seat. You do feel the difference quickly. And its all done by how they direct electricity through these modules in the seats. If they run electricity one way through it the seats will heat up. If they run electricity the other way the seats will cool. I don't remember the exact names and details. But I at least remember this much. So that's why I first thought they might be using a similar system. But to my knowledge the modules are big enough to hold in one hand. But its the special material or alloy they use to do the heating and cooling thats important. So I guess they could come up with a way to make it fit in a glove.

                          • Ethan Huffman
                            Ethan Huffman  2 months back

                            Damnit this was super cool. I fully understand the IP thing. I deal with the same thing at my job, but damnit. I wanna know!!!! Also Destin you're very good at asking the correct questions.

                            • timothy Roosa
                              timothy Roosa  2 months back

                              Throughout you could see all of them in almost physical pain of holding back information that they so want to talk about and explain because you can tell this is their baby and they have worked very hard on it...

                              • airpeguiV2
                                airpeguiV2  2 months back

                                I'm an electrical engineer... Ouch!

                                • Jonathan Hall
                                  Jonathan Hall  2 months back

                                  Destin, you must have driven your folks batty.

                                  • Fernando Olvera
                                    Fernando Olvera  2 months back

                                    2019 now, do a follow up video of this

                                    • muTrisable
                                      muTrisable  2 months back

                                      THIS NEEDS TO BE OPEN SOURCED !!!
                                      Just so I can see how every bit of it works =D

                                      • chester82gtstang
                                        chester82gtstang  2 months back

                                        This video was pretty much the most informative video I've ever seen on youtube. So much info so quick really awesome!

                                        • Brett Rigby
                                          Brett Rigby  2 months back

                                          23 and me, hmm isn't it weird how we're all now willingly handing over dna samples to a company that is ran by google. just don't.

                                        • Brandon Royer
                                          Brandon Royer  2 months back

                                          Honestly it was kind of easier to understand them when they talked about the glove. More simplistic than technical. Easier for people who dont know alot about the subject but who might want to get into it.

                                          • Fritz Coleman
                                            Fritz Coleman  2 months back

                                            This was an amazing video! One thing this did was strengthen my belief in how amazing our bodies are! The size and scope of what they are trying to recreate our bodies do so efficiently and compact. I really enjoy your content and the fundamental base that you stand on, keep the great content coming.

                                            • adam
                                              adam  2 months back

                                              My hand fell asleep like 8 times during this video. Kinda ironic.

                                              • Steve Sloan
                                                Steve Sloan  2 months back

                                                More my first question before putting the haptic glove on would of been.... “Can this glove snap my fingers off?”🇦🇺😂😂😂😂 “We can say that until you sign this waver”... Pun intended😂😂😂

                                                • bulldogce
                                                  bulldogce  2 months back

                                                  You look like a farmer with that flannel and hat

                                                  • Sam Drew
                                                    Sam Drew  3 months back

                                                    At 0:17 there is a little black dot covering his hand

                                                    • Daisy Cutter
                                                      Daisy Cutter  3 months back

                                                      Love how HaptX guys were squirming over sharing that they had essentially GPS mapped a hundred plus "pixel actuators" (Which is ... Brilliant to say the least) using optical sensors and magnetic fields (or, some other term that's way over my head)This technology would not only revolutionize synthesized touch, but the real world applications are endless, from Macro to micro this technology could really change things. I really need to follow these guys.

                                                      • Hold my beer. Hey y'all, watch this.

                                                        Best one I've seen yet. Well done.

                                                        • Daniel Blinder
                                                          Daniel Blinder  3 months back

                                                          Such a solid, informative, engaging video. Truly, well done.

                                                          • Josh Stovall
                                                            Josh Stovall  3 months back


                                                            • Ramon Caceres
                                                              Ramon Caceres  3 months back

                                                              Imagine if they where open about the project in ways.... It probably be completed by now. They need to come out with gloves. This glove is nice but Overkill. This isn't Player One yet

                                                              • Jace Da Ace
                                                                Jace Da Ace  3 months back

                                                                Thanx Destin!!! Extremely interesting.....appreciate your time & effort on this topic!!!

                                                                • Daddy Yo
                                                                  Daddy Yo  3 months back

                                                                  Hitting on important question look at this Destin lol😁😁

                                                                  • Angel Henández
                                                                    Angel Henández  3 months back

                                                                    If they say something that they are not allowed to, they would feel like Mark rufalo, or Tom Holland from his company, spoiling every important detail hahaha

                                                                    • Jesus Chavez
                                                                      Jesus Chavez  3 months back

                                                                      Amazing hero nerds! <3

                                                                      • Chris Heichel
                                                                        Chris Heichel  3 months back

                                                                        Matrix style vs full haptic suit. What's first?

                                                                        Haptic will come first. Matrix style I believe is still a bit of a ways off unless they go for invasive physical contact and reading of fired neurons as opposed to passive MRI, cat scan, or EKG

                                                                        • Johnfortich Vista
                                                                          Johnfortich Vista  3 months back

                                                                          Wow, it took a year before i see this. This is awesome. Wonder if you can buy this now.

                                                                          • Robert Spencer
                                                                            Robert Spencer  3 months back

                                                                            11:10 Every guys so nervous because your tearing apart all their secrets right in front of them!

                                                                            • Cyan
                                                                              Cyan  3 months back

                                                                              07:17 - There's definitely something omitted from this homunculus... :P

                                                                              • Radek Okrajek
                                                                                Radek Okrajek  3 months back

                                                                                Hands up whos arm is on fire from poking yourselves with pencils .... like mine! :D

                                                                                • Zymosan99
                                                                                  Zymosan99  3 months back

                                                                                  why not aply for a patent

                                                                                  • AM Productions
                                                                                    AM Productions  3 months back

                                                                                    Does HaptX only have male engineers??

                                                                                    • Adam Osinkosky
                                                                                      Adam Osinkosky  3 months back

                                                                                      Why are y’all getting mad at them for not saying a lot because they are just protecting themselves from people taking their project. Cause they want the patent and many awards if this becomes successful

                                                                                      • Shaun Henderson
                                                                                        Shaun Henderson  3 months back

                                                                                        Beyond 2000 was such an awesome show!

                                                                                        • Nand Patel
                                                                                          Nand Patel  3 months back

                                                                                          The feel of temperature is maybe stimulated by thermoelectric plate. it would be more rapid when it come to change in temperature then water.

                                                                                          • Mohammad Nadeem
                                                                                            Mohammad Nadeem  4 months back

                                                                                            Cmon they should understand all we can do is comment

                                                                                            • Erik Bakker
                                                                                              Erik Bakker  4 months back

                                                                                              Nearly everybody is wearing sort of less the same blue checkered-striped button up shirt thing at some point in the video.