|Type||Input Device, Motion Tracker|
The VR input devices present in the market cannot be classified as ideal, since they require line of sight and are limited by occlusion. Finexus, a new project, has pushed the boundaries of the VR concept even further. This newly designed product, utilizes fingernail sized magnets, placed on the fingertips of the user, to track the location of the user’s fingers in 3-dimensional space. This revolutionary device does not require to maintain a line of sight, is immune to occlusion and gives a natural experience to the user. The electromagnets in Finexus operate at different frequencies, thus differentiating the movement of different fingertips at different sensing points. The project uses four magnetic sensors which are found to be accurate within 1.3 millimeters.
Any future product derived from Finexus will be composed of two main components: a glove that contains the electromagnets and a smartwatch or wrist band that contains the sensors. Currently, the maximum possible distance between the electromagnets and the sensors, without compromising the functionality, is around 12 centimeters. It is expected to be almost double in the future with the advancement in this technology.
The principle of operation of Finexus is somewhat similar to that of Global Positioning System (GPS). In Finexus, the distance between an electromagnet and the four magnetic sensors is determined and the intersection of these distances is used to track the position of the electromagnet in 3-dimensional space. In the future, more electromagnets can be added to the system without the introduction of additional sensors to improve the tracking of the user’s finger movements.
Finexus was created by a group of researchers from the University of Washington and Oculus Research. Oculus Reasarch is a division of Oculus VR, the makers of Oculus Rift. Finexus project was created by Keyu Chen, an intern at Oculus Research and a graduate student at the University of Washington. The project is being handled by researchers from both the institutions. A research paper on the subject will be presented at the ACM CHI Conference in May 2016. According to Chen, Finexus can not only revolutionize the modern gaming but also can be used to perform some tasks which require delicate finger motion such as writing in the air or playing a virtual keyboard.