One of the problems with virtual reality is that you don’t actually get to “feel” the objects you touch. This means that while visually the experience is immersive, there are still some shortcomings to the technology overall that still lets you feel the disconnect between what you’re seeing and what you’re feeling.
However, Microsoft has created a rather interesting wearable device that lets users feel things in VR. This is a set of wrist controllers that comes with little hammers built into them. What this means is that whenever you pick up an item in a VR setting, the hammers will swing into your palms, touching them in the process, thus helping give off the illusion that you’re touching the object you’re seeing in VR.
When users release the item they’re holding, the hammer will then swing out of the user’s palm. In Microsoft’s demonstration video (see above), it shows how when users pluck an apple from a VR tree, the hammer swings into the palm of the user to give them the haptic feedback of plucking an actual apple.
The hammer can drive itself further into the user’s palm by exerting more force, thus giving users the impression that the object they’re holding is heavy. While it might not necessarily be applicable in every VR scenario, it is an interesting application that hopefully we’ll see more VR developers include in the future.