How do you make a Virtual Reality Glove? - Smarter Every Day 191

  • Published: 19 March 2018
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    There are tons of things I had never considered about how difficult it is to fool your brain into thinking it's touching something it's not. I think the most important technical issue to overcome is timing. Much like how your brain can understand hearing someone's voice AFTER seeing their lips move, but not the opposite... the lag time of the sense of touch is an important thing for your brain. Another thing I hand't considered is the "rise time" that has to do with internal stresses in your fingers. If you conceptualize your fingers as water balloons around bones, you can understand how the internal pressure of your fingers rise the harder you press something. This type of information coupled with the "Sensory Homunculus" make for some incredibly fulfilling thought experiments.

    The temperature question is something I'm particularly interested in. Using a colder fluid to model a room temperature fluid because of the heat transfer equation is a fascinating area of scientific problem solving. If you think it through, everything about this boils down to differential equations. How much heat is leaking out of the hand, and at what rate, through what contact area?


    Sensory / Cortical Homunculus

    Two Point Threshold

    I asked HaptX for a blurb to explain their company. This is what they came up with:

    HaptX is a multidisciplinary team of engineers based in San Luis Obispo, CA and Seattle, WA that builds advanced haptic technology. Their first product, HaptX Gloves, brings touch feedback to VR with unprecedented realism, enabling a new category of industrial training simulations. Founded by Jake Rubin and Dr. Bob Crockett in 2012, HaptX won’t stop until you can’t tell what’s real from what’s virtual. Learn more at

    If you're interested in working for them, here's a link:
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  • Science and Technology Science and Technology

Comments • 2 377

  • Rohit Krishna
    Rohit Krishna  6 days back

    Am I the only one who thinks the Electrical engineer look like a younger Sylvester Stallone?

    • Nosknut
      Nosknut  2 weeks back

      When i realized they had high density temperature feedback i was at tears
      This is so beautiful it makes me happy to be alive

      • Whyplazh z
        Whyplazh z  2 weeks back

        Basically Penn and teller talking in code to the contestants

        • Matjaž Čeh
          Matjaž Čeh  2 weeks back

          Whos FDA and why would i care what they allow. They killed off Wilhelm Reich and Violet Rays and weed and shrooms. So infact, this means this is not good.

          • dawid mroziński
            dawid mroziński  3 weeks back

            chcą po prostu zabawne i wirtualnie świecie :)

            • Nibelung Valesti
              Nibelung Valesti  3 weeks back

              That homunculus is missing the most nerve-dense part of male body...

              • that e36 dude
                that e36 dude  3 weeks back

                Is there actually an up and down in space. What do we have as a reference.
                Random alert

                • Withered Gamer
                  Withered Gamer  4 weeks back

                  Do you know if they use AI in their software (or plan to) so that they can anticipate user actions and prime some kind of secondary bladder to provide a lower latency to activating the tactor when the user performs the anticipated action?

                  • Wisp
                    Wisp  4 weeks back

                    As someone who’s wanting to look into this as a career, what kind of education would a job at haptix require?

                    • Phi-Net
                      Phi-Net  1 months back

                      Thank you Destin, I'm writing a research paper on haptic feedback, the failures of the past designs, current innovations, and the future of the industry, your videos have helped a lot for digesting all the research. You are officially a source for my essay.

                      • Uh
                        Uh  2 months back

                        Destin thought he broke something at 4:09

                        • alkoia
                          alkoia  2 months back

                          they could use thermoelectric pads and just switch the polarity to produce hot or cold sensation, so they don't have to deal with hydraulics!

                          • Alex Tveit
                            Alex Tveit  2 months back

                            Have watched this video probably 4 times over the year since it was released. Just love the content and how the interviews were conducted. Please please continue to do follow-ups and similar videos

                            • shad covert
                              shad covert  3 months back

                              "we are sacks of watery meat stuff".
                              -Destin 2019

                              • Daniel
                                Daniel  3 months back

                                HaptX needs to work with the prosthetic industry, to enable them to improve the lives of amputees.

                                • John-Paul Parker
                                  John-Paul Parker  3 months back

                                  What I like about these kinda videos is how intelligent you are, there's no way a LOT of people could hold a technical conversation with boffins like this but you hold your own, we can see the brain ticking over and then you surprise them with your questions and assumptions on how the hardware is working. You could see that with their facial expressions and looking at each other for approval haha.

                                  • Rosa I Guess
                                    Rosa I Guess  3 months back

                                    23 & me gives your info to the cops

                                    • genralpompeyo generalpompeyo

                                      Great vid!

                                      • Enthusiastic Gamer
                                        Enthusiastic Gamer  4 months back

                                        "We're sacks of watery meat stuff."
                                        - Smarter Every Day

                                        • Hugo Friberg
                                          Hugo Friberg  4 months back

                                          2050 news: man dies of hypothermia from VR game

                                          • Kadam Alibakhsh
                                            Kadam Alibakhsh  4 months back

                                            Seeing Dustin think makes me feel smart

                                            • Ouchie
                                              Ouchie  4 months back

                                              Interesting that you have to censor the air feeding ribbon

                                              • TacticalStoner
                                                TacticalStoner  4 months back

                                                These guys are way to protective. Technology moves so fast this is already old news. I understand they dont want people to copy them but dont have dustin come interview you then because he will ask and you guys go erm can i answer that makes you look dumb.

                                                • Lego Sushi
                                                  Lego Sushi  4 months back

                                                  "Nobody cares about electrical engineers... I'm with Geoffrey, an electrical engineer."

                                                  • morning1500
                                                    morning1500  4 months back

                                                    Hi, Destin. I THINK I have an answer for the thermal interactions... Peltier junctions. If current flows one direction the hot and cold sides will be one way. Reverse the current, and they flip over! Thus, you'd have one side of the junction touching your hand, and the other some kind of heat sink. This is where just a steady flow of water would be sufficient... you don't have the lag of the flow, or lags in changing the temperature, etc... the Peltier junction is against your hand, and can change very quickly, depending on the current flow and direction. By changing the "attack/decay/sustain/release" of the current, they can make the temperature change quickly, slowly, etc, and adjust your perception. NOTE: I have NO CONNECTION AT ALL with the folks at HAPTX, this is just MY THEORY about how this works... based on the limited information given here, and my own GEEK factor. :) Just FYI, I absolutely LOVED this video and the one before it... these are AMAZING and are my favorite of all the "Smarter Every Day" vids. :) God bless!!

                                                    • 45shfifty
                                                      45shfifty  5 months back

                                                      Peltier modules for heat change

                                                      • morning1500
                                                        morning1500  4 months back

                                                        I just saw this comment AFTER posting mine. ;)

                                                    • Felipe Furze
                                                      Felipe Furze  5 months back

                                                      We don't care about you Jeffrey

                                                      • Matt Kelly
                                                        Matt Kelly  5 months back

                                                        Gotta give it to these guys they went well out of there way to your answers and that struck me as very cool

                                                        • Gregor Tidholm
                                                          Gregor Tidholm  5 months back


                                                          • Souless Deeds
                                                            Souless Deeds  5 months back

                                                            When he talks about the thermal transfer in the glove and thinking its gotta be liquid cooling and heating. To be able to do that. I honestly first thought about the electrical process auto makers use to heat and cool seats in vehicles. Take my dads Ram 1500, he got all the bells and whistles. This was the first vehicle I had ever ridden in that had not just heated seats, because thats been around for a long time. But also cooling function as well. I had gone to school to auto and Diesel training. I am Ford certified. But I never worked on fords. I worked on Cummins engines and freightliner trucks. My dads truck has cooling option for his seats and when you hit the button its pretty quick about removing the heat from my seat. You do feel the difference quickly. And its all done by how they direct electricity through these modules in the seats. If they run electricity one way through it the seats will heat up. If they run electricity the other way the seats will cool. I don't remember the exact names and details. But I at least remember this much. So that's why I first thought they might be using a similar system. But to my knowledge the modules are big enough to hold in one hand. But its the special material or alloy they use to do the heating and cooling thats important. So I guess they could come up with a way to make it fit in a glove.

                                                            • Ethan Huffman
                                                              Ethan Huffman  5 months back

                                                              Damnit this was super cool. I fully understand the IP thing. I deal with the same thing at my job, but damnit. I wanna know!!!! Also Destin you're very good at asking the correct questions.

                                                              • timothy Roosa
                                                                timothy Roosa  5 months back

                                                                Throughout you could see all of them in almost physical pain of holding back information that they so want to talk about and explain because you can tell this is their baby and they have worked very hard on it...

                                                                • airpeguiV2
                                                                  airpeguiV2  5 months back

                                                                  I'm an electrical engineer... Ouch!

                                                                  • Jonathan Hall
                                                                    Jonathan Hall  5 months back

                                                                    Destin, you must have driven your folks batty.

                                                                    • Fernando Olvera
                                                                      Fernando Olvera  6 months back

                                                                      2019 now, do a follow up video of this

                                                                      • muTrisable
                                                                        muTrisable  6 months back

                                                                        THIS NEEDS TO BE OPEN SOURCED !!!
                                                                        Just so I can see how every bit of it works =D

                                                                        • chester82gtstang
                                                                          chester82gtstang  6 months back

                                                                          This video was pretty much the most informative video I've ever seen on youtube. So much info so quick really awesome!

                                                                          • Brett Rigby
                                                                            Brett Rigby  6 months back

                                                                            23 and me, hmm isn't it weird how we're all now willingly handing over dna samples to a company that is ran by google. just don't.

                                                                          • Brandon Royer
                                                                            Brandon Royer  6 months back

                                                                            Honestly it was kind of easier to understand them when they talked about the glove. More simplistic than technical. Easier for people who dont know alot about the subject but who might want to get into it.

                                                                            • Fritz Coleman
                                                                              Fritz Coleman  6 months back

                                                                              This was an amazing video! One thing this did was strengthen my belief in how amazing our bodies are! The size and scope of what they are trying to recreate our bodies do so efficiently and compact. I really enjoy your content and the fundamental base that you stand on, keep the great content coming.

                                                                              • adam
                                                                                adam  6 months back

                                                                                My hand fell asleep like 8 times during this video. Kinda ironic.

                                                                                • Steve Sloan
                                                                                  Steve Sloan  6 months back

                                                                                  More my first question before putting the haptic glove on would of been.... “Can this glove snap my fingers off?”🇦🇺😂😂😂😂 “We can say that until you sign this waver”... Pun intended😂😂😂

                                                                                  • bulldogce
                                                                                    bulldogce  6 months back

                                                                                    You look like a farmer with that flannel and hat

                                                                                    • Sam Drew
                                                                                      Sam Drew  6 months back

                                                                                      At 0:17 there is a little black dot covering his hand

                                                                                      • Daisy Cutter
                                                                                        Daisy Cutter  6 months back

                                                                                        Love how HaptX guys were squirming over sharing that they had essentially GPS mapped a hundred plus "pixel actuators" (Which is ... Brilliant to say the least) using optical sensors and magnetic fields (or, some other term that's way over my head)This technology would not only revolutionize synthesized touch, but the real world applications are endless, from Macro to micro this technology could really change things. I really need to follow these guys.

                                                                                        • Hold my beer. Hey y'all, watch this.

                                                                                          Best one I've seen yet. Well done.

                                                                                          • Daniel Blinder
                                                                                            Daniel Blinder  6 months back

                                                                                            Such a solid, informative, engaging video. Truly, well done.

                                                                                            • Josh Stovall
                                                                                              Josh Stovall  6 months back