Swiss Engineers Build the Meta Suit to Make You ‘Feel’ in the Metaverse
The Meta Suit uses novel new artificial muscles called Hasel to enable VR wearers the ability to ‘feel’ the virtual objects they interact with in the metaverse.
Eight Swiss mechanical engineering students from ETH Zurich have created what they call the Meta Suit, a novel tactile VR suit that will make it possible for those who wear it to actually ‘feel’ the virtual objects found in the metaverse.
These engineers at ETH Zurich, a public research university (whose name has nothing to do with Vitalik’s Ethereum but actually means the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology), have constructed a suit that enables “a lot more interaction with virtual reality” thanks to its use of many sensors and artificial, human-like muscles. These muscles, according to project lead Maximilan Eberlein, make it possible for the user to “have greater interaction with virtual reality.” He said that the team’s main was idea was to add in new artificial muscles called Hasel (hydraulically amplified self-healing electrostatic – actuators) in to the suit in order to make VR feel way more interactive. It’s thanks to these artificial muscles that wearers of the suit are able to ‘feel’ what they virtually interact with as these muscles send haptic feedback and are similar to human ones.
The Meta Suit does not use any cameras for movement tracking, but instead uses a method called ‘proprioception’ while the muscles send a small electric current when contracting and expanding. Eberlein elaborates with an example, saying that "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.”
"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."