VR Pilot Tech Now Includes Touch


Virtual reality systems for flight simulation now include “haptic” capabilities, simulating a sense of touch when interacting with the virtual environment. The U.S. company FlyInside partnered with the Go Touch VR startup, based in France, to develop the system for the market, and introduced it last month at a trade show in France. “This haptic solution can be adapted for pilot training,” Go Touch VR said in a news release. The technology is “realistic, flexible, scalable, [and] affordable,” the company said. The advantage for pilot training is that the VR systems cost much less than simulators, but with the haptic capabilities, they are approaching the same level of experience.

The Go Touch VR system provides three small devices for each hand, which clip on to the user’s fingertips. The devices contain numerous actuators beneath a flexible rubber cover, and by applying variations in pressure, they can replicate the sense of object stiffness, coarse textures and the feeling of holding physical objects in your hands, according to Wired. A VR headset provides 3-D visual input to create the illusion of being in an aircraft cockpit. “When we couple [the haptic device] with a visual rendering in virtual or augmented reality, you reach out your hand toward an object, activating the skin pressure, the brain ‘clicks’ and lets you perceive the virtual object in front of your eyes as real, because it is feeling a sensation that it is expecting,” Eric Vezzoli, Go Touch CEO, told Wired. The technology is still in development and not yet available for sale.

AVweb’s Geoff Rapoport looked at a VR simulator last year at Oshkosh.