- Engineers at ETH Zurich are developing a suit that will enable people to have the full metaverse experience.
- The suit is fitted with multiple sensors and soft, human-like muscles allowing users to users to have a lot more natural interaction with virtual reality.
- Dubbed Meta Suit, it can also track and map the movements of humans without using a camera system.
Swiss engineers are developing a suit that will allow users to have the full metaverse experience. The eight mechanical engineering students from Swiss Federal Institute of Technology said the suit is fitted with multiple sensors and soft, human-like muscles allowing users to users to have a lot more natural interaction with virtual reality.
According to the report by Euronews, the tactile suit covers the entire body to “superboost” immersive experiences in the metaverse.
“The Meta Suit is basically a suit that is built with artificial muscles and that enables us to have greater interaction with virtual reality,” said Maximilan Eberlein, project lead at ETH Zurich.
“The main idea was to incorporate new artificial muscles called Hasel [hydraulically amplified self-healing electrostatic – actuators] into a suit that enables more interaction with virtual reality,” Eberlein added.
The metaverse is a virtual 3D space where users can interact through gaming, virtual events and socials. However, one of the biggest challenges of making the experiences feel life-like has been the inability to feel.
The eight engineers want to change that with a novel technology Hasel, which allows them to create artificial muscles that feel similar to human muscles. The muscles can also send haptic feedback to the suit so the wearer can ‘feel’ the virtual environment.
According to the report, the muscles use a tiny electric current that allows them to contract and expand just like zip-lock bag.
“So you have pouches that are filled with a special fluid and you spray electrodes on them and you apply a voltage on these electrodes so that these muscle zip together and this leads to a contraction of the muscle,” Eberlein explained.
This technology has the capability to take metaverse experiences to the next level.
For example, one of the main drawbacks of the recently unveiled Apple Vision Pro VR/AR headset is the inability to feel. Reviewers have stated the demo showcasing the use cases of the device used a butterfly, which lands on a user’s hand. While it seems realistic, the users said they could not feel it.
The Meta Suit changes that, at least based on a test metaverse experience reported by Euronews. The engineers created a virtual reality experience where “the player can let a bird land on their hand and feel it using the muscles contracting on the suit.”
“It is amazing. Like, the first few tries where we actually tried our technology we all had to laugh because it was such an amazing feeling, something I’ve never felt before. You’re in an entirely other environment. You could be on Mars and you feel something and it feels real,” said Eberlein.
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