In this research project I prototype a low-cost VR exoskeleton arm to test the viability of an improved consumer-grade VR haptic feedback system (contemporary home systems are limited to controller vibration). Studies indicate that force feedback via exoskeleton-based systems can output the most precise form of haptic feedback. Nevertheless, force feedback systems have the potential to represent VR physics more accurately to the user. With the improved aspect of physical simulation, force-feedback integrated VR systems can be more optimized not only as a means of educational simulation but also as a means of general-purpose immersive productivity.
The prototype from this study aimed to incorporate low-cost components to test the efficacy of a system affordable to mainstream consumers. Main components included:
- An Arduino microprocessor
- DC motor
- H-Bridge motor controller
- PVC pipe
- 12V Power supply
- Electronic component housing
Top Left: Improvised exoskeleton arm with calibrated elbow joint.
Top Right: Unity Scene for user testing the system
Bottom Left: Arduino and H-bridge motor controller circuit
Bottom Right: Sample C++ Arduino code for phase-1 Unity user testing.
- The next iteration of the prototype implements pressure sensors and a more ergonomic chassis.
- Considering that the tested improvised exoskeleton arm was effective to an extent, it can be inferred that VR corporations, with established infrastructure and resources, have the capacity to develop a low-cost exoskeleton arm for consumers. A hypothetical consumer demand for VR exoskeletons can be expected to expedite the development of the haptic feedback system.