With a development journey starting way back in 2014, Dexta’s Dexmo haptic force-feedback VR gloves have come a very long way. I recently went hands-on with the latest version of the company’s gloves, which are now production ready, and came away impressed with their compact size and freedom of mobility.
Dexta Robotics originally envisioned building a consumer force-feedback glove for VR but has in recent years pivoted the Dexmo gloves toward the enterprise market. While CEO Aler Gu says the company is still very intent on delivering a more refined and affordable consumer product in the future, for now it’s opened sales for enterprise customers. Dexta is selling the gloves on a case-by-case basis and hasn’t publicly disclosed the price.
The latest version of the gloves are production ready and surprisingly sleek and sharply designed compared to other force-feedback gloves I’ve tried. Dexta’s nearest competitor is very likely HaptX, which offers some really compelling haptic and force-feedback, though its latest prototypes are bulky and require a huge tether connected to each glove which largely limits HaptX to ‘stand in place’ use-cases.
The Dexmo gloves, on the other hand, are compact and battery powered, thereby supporting the same kind of room-scale VR experiences that most of today’s headsets are capable of.
Quick primer on ‘haptic’ and ‘force-feedback’ for this article: ‘haptics’ here means some sensation that replicates a feeling of touching something, while ‘force-feedback’ means the ability to actually push back against your fingers to make it feel like you’re grabbing virtual objects that aren’t actually there.
Dexmo offers both. Haptics come in the form of vibrators (LRAs); there’s one in each finger and two in the palm section in the glove. Force-feedback comes from the glove’s ‘fingers’ which are connected to each of your own. Motors in each of the glove’s fingers can stop your fingers in place to give a sensation of grabbing objects of varying shapes.
Image Credit: Dexta Robotics