Why touch can be such a creepy sensation in VR | Science News

Support Science Journalism

Science News is a nonprofit.

Support us by subscribing now.


News

Why touch can be such a creepy sensation in VR

Pairing tactile feedback with visual cues can keep the experience immersive, not jarring

By
2:00pm, April 18, 2018
person experiencing VR

EERIE FEELING  Making tactile sensations more realistic doesn’t necessarily improve users’ virtual reality experience.

There’s a fine line between immersive and unnerving when it comes to touch sensation in virtual reality.

More realistic tactile feedback in VR can ruin a user’s feeling of immersion, researchers report online April 18 in Science Robotics. The finding suggests that the “uncanny valley” — a term that describes how humanoid robots that look almost but not quite human are creepier than their more cartoonish counterparts — also applies to virtual touch (SN Online: 11/22/13).

Experiment participants wearing VR headsets and gripping a controller in each hand embodied a virtual avatar holding the two ends of a stick. At first, users felt no touch sensation. Then, the hand controllers gave equally strong vibrations every half-second. Finally, the

This article is only available to Science News subscribers. Already a subscriber? Log in now.
Or subscribe today for full access.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More from Science News

From the Nature Index Paid Content