While Meta’s gloves are still in the prototype stage, some Indian firms are already selling haptic gloves with similar technologies.


New Delhi : Last November, Meta (formerly Facebook) Reality Labs unveiled a pair of haptic gloves that can help computer programs accurately sense and reflect the wearer’s hand gestures. Gloves can also simulate complex sensations such as pressure, texture and vibration.

The idea behind the glove was to make virtual objects feel real in the wearer’s hands, and to add the sense of touch to virtual reality (VR) simulations. Meta’s gloves, which are in the prototype stage, use sensors to read signals sent by the human brain to our hands via neurons, and relay it to a computer.

But while Meta’s gloves are still in the prototype stage, Indian companies like Ajnalance and Simulanis are already selling haptic gloves with similar technologies to customers.

According to industry executives, large companies using VR to train workers to handle complex equipment in the mining, construction and automotive industries started using such gloves to improve the learning experience is or is planning to do.

For example, Hindustan Zinc Limited (HZL), a unit of Vedanta Limited, began using a haptic glove called Ajnasparsh, developed by Mumbai-based VR firm Ajnalens, to simulate a mining rig and prepare miners for the same.

Ajnalance co-founder and chief technology officer Abhishek Tomar said Vedanta uses large machines called mining rigs in its mines. These rigs have 12 types of gears and levers and drivers have to be properly trained to use them properly.

Adding gloves makes the experience “physical” rather than a purely digital experience. Trainees can now push, pull, or rotate levers in the virtual world, and build muscle memory in the process.

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“The fact that they learn to navigate real-life challenges in the digital space makes the training both safe and cost-effective,” a Vedanta spokesperson said in a statement.

Vedanta is not alone in seeing such experiences. Tomar said Tata Motors is also going to use haptic gloves for driving and other simulators.

Noida-based VR, AR startup Simulanis is providing exoskeletal VR gloves called Reflexis to companies like HPCL and Mahindra. Developed last year, Simulanis’ gloves are being used by both companies for training, operation, repair and maintenance in refineries, pipelines, retail and operations-distribution-engineering. Raman Talwar, Chief Executive and Founder-Director, Simulanis, said, “The glove has garnered a lot of interest from many of our existing customers, especially those related to manufacturing sectors such as Automotive, Oil & Gas, Pharmaceutical and FMCG.” He added that the healthcare and skills sector is also creating some demand.

Talwar said such gloves allow for the user’s entire hand to track motion and how it moves, including the fingers. In turn, haptic feedback provides a more “realistic and engaging” user experience, he said.

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