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Research uses muscle activity to move virtual objects

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Posted March 27, 2013

Today’s smartphones and computers offer gestural interfaces where information arrives at users’ fingertips with a swipe of a hand. Still, researchers have found that most technology falls short in making people feel as if they’re interacting with virtual objects the same way they would with real objects.

But a team at UW-Madison says it has developed, for the first time, a way to move virtual objects in an immersive virtual reality environment through the use of muscle activity. In addition to making virtual reality more interactive and realistic, the research could have rehabilitation applications for people recovering from injuries or people living with specific disabilities.

“We’re trying to add the dimension of movement and touch to allow people to exert forces against things that are created in front of them with a projector and virtual reality goggles,” says Robert Radwin, a UW–Madison professor of industrial and systems engineering, biomedical engineering and discovery fellow at the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery (WID)’s Living Environments Laboratory (LEL). “What if we could use these virtual exertions as a way of rehabilitating people from an illness or an injury such as a stroke? What if we could alter people’s abilities for different tasks, making them weaker or stronger during certain exercises?”

Read more at: Phys.org

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