BeBop’s Smart Fabric VR Gloves: Rubbing Fake Stuff Has Never Felt Better

BeBop’s Smart Fabric VR Gloves: Rubbing Fake Stuff Has Never Felt Better

So you’ve got your fancy virtual reality headset and a computer powerful enough to drive its twin displays. You don your goggles, fire up your VR app of choice and strike one of several goofy stances. Then what? There are many ways to interact with the artificial worlds developers are coming up — joysticks, remotes and other gizmos — but nothing’s quite as natural as your hands. And hands need gloves, like BeBop’s sci-fi VR gloves.

BeBop’s “Marcel data gloves”, shown in the video above, are only for OEMs, but that means products using the technology should filter into the mainstream, given time.

According to the company, there are several versions of the gloves, each providing higher fidelity when it comes to figuring out what your digits are doing. The basic product comes with five sensors, followed by 10 and 14-sensor variations.

The major selling point appears to be the detection of “knuckle and abduction motion” with low latency:

BeBop’s basic configuration provides high speed sensor processing as well as a 6 or 9 DoF (Degrees of Freedom) IMU (Inertial Measurement Unit), which measures acceleration and angular rate. Fast, deterministic sensing provides sub-frame latency at 120 Hz for real-time control of games and environments. Designed by award-winning musical instrument creator and BeBop Sensors CEO, Keith McMillen, McMillen said: “All controllers need to be accurate and fast. If latency is more than 6-8 milliseconds, you are out of the band.”

Fingertip haptics also means detailed information about surfaces can be communicated from the glove, which as the clip shows, will let you feel the crap out of tomato paste and cheese (or a sponge).

They look fast and accurate enough. Motorcycle black might not be in fashion, but I’m sure peripheral makers will come up with all sorts of designs and colours to suit the tastes of the discerning headset-wearer.