Our project goal was to make a pair of gloves for Lockheed Martin to be used in virtual reality training for an Abrams tank. Active training units are large and costly, so using virtual reality lessens the cost and size of the training space.
The gloves may be used with the Unity virtual reality game engine and HTC Vive virtual reality unit. The Vive unit consists of a headset to view the virtual world and sensor boxes to track the headset location. The gloves are easy to use, strong, comfortable, washable and can be used with physical controls.
The overall design has two main units: tracking the gloves and the response given by the gloves. To achieve the tracking, a series of sensors find the hands. This moves through a Vive tracker to the computer to create a copy of the user’s hands in the virtual world. The response unit lets the user know when they touch an object in the virtual space. The response is the result of motors placed on the fingers and palm of the hand. These motors vibrate when the user touches a virtual object to mimic the user’s sense of touch. This vibration lets them know they have touched something in the virtual space, allowing the user to work with virtual controls. The motors and sensors are located on the gloves so they don’t interfere with the user’s touch. This lets the user work with real world controls and virtual controls at the same time. The gloves easily move from person to person to limit down time between switching to a new trainee.