How To Get Touched In VR

How to get touched in VR like in real life? Is that even possible?

The answer is yes. While virtual reality headset provides stunning visual. Haptics feedback technology can simulate anything from physical touch sensation including:

  • Rough or smooth surface
  • Pleasure and pain
  • Hot or cold

To feel truly immersed in VR, you need to be able to use your hands and see what they're doing.

One way of doing this is by using the virtual hand metaphor where optical sensors reflect movements or map out visuals on screen so that actions have consequences. However, there isn't any physical sensation just by using the controller.

What's Possible Now?

flight simulator varjo vr

Referenced Varjo

There are a few technological innovations out there to enrich the VR touch experience by:

  • Gloves - Features vibrotactile motors to feel shape of virtual objects
  • Tactile hand stimulation - Shape of the controller matches visually what's presented on the screen to increase VR active presence
  • Hapatic suit - It produces electrical muscle stimulation like vibration
x plane 11 VR interface cockpit 737

All these technologies are designed to replicate touch sensation on hands, and they are not currently developed for the rest of the body.

  • VR gun stock for VR shooting games can simulate the grip of a weapon ergonomics
  • Flight controller inside a flight simulator can give the user the realistic representation of the throttle and yoke to control the aircraft just like in real life.
  • Haptic suit can simulate vibration

VR Gloves

VR gloves


There are haptic glove prototypes that lets the user feel VR objects using air pockets. This technology is also developed for Augmented Reality applications.

The Meta's haptics glove feature 15 ridged and inflatable plastic actuators to fit along the palm, fingers and finger tips. The overall system adjusts the level of air inflation, pressure on the user's hand to feel sensation.

If the user grips onto a virtual item, the actuator will stiffen to create a resistance feeling.

Check out this design here.

How Does VR Touch Impact Your Experience

vr temperature sensing

Touch is a very important sensory input for humans to feel things with objects. Whether you're playing VR games or training for a job inside virtual reality, touch is a very important aspect of reaching active presence in VR.

When it's combined with visual and auditory feedback, VR experience will be even more immersive than what's available now.

Touching things in VR that correspond to what the user sees boost immersion. Being felt by someone touching you, hugging you, or hitting you still require years of development to make it possible.

Can You Feel Pain In VR?

VR boxing

Virtual reality experience should induce pain in the user. However, we can simulate pain through haptic feedback. These include:

  • Stabbed
  • Bumped into
  • Sheared
  • Pulled
  • Yanked
  • Jerked around
  • Pushed
  • Striked

There is no nerve pinching type of pain felt when using VR.

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