TSU creates a device to stimulate strikes and feels in online games

TSU radiophysicists are creating a device for stimulating phantom touch, strikes, and other sensations. By 2020, they will develop software and hardware that can act on human skin with electrical impulses. In online games, it will create a feeling of interaction between the player and various objects and characters.

The device will be developed by student Andrei Kostornoy under the guidance of Sergei Pobachenko, assistant professor at the Faculty of Radiophysics. The complex can be used to develop VR-technologies on simulators of various control systems with multitouch systems of information display, in 5D-cinemas, and in online games, for example, Elite Dangerous, Eve Valkyrie, Surgeon Simulator VR, and others.

Phantom sensations are false sensations, an illusion of the presence of a lost part of the body. A number of significant results on creating this electro-tactile stimulation were obtained in the work of the SPhTI TSU staff, including the project’s scientific supervisor.

- The work will be based on the technology of electro-tactile stimulation. With the device, we will act on a certain area of the skin with electrical signals with given space-time parameters. Patterns of nervous activity are generated, which, entering the brain, form phantom illusory sensations, - Andrei Kostornoy said. - When you touch an object, the image of this effect is already stored in the head, the incoming signal is processed, and the brain compares it to the already-existing ones and makes the sensations tactile.

According to the author of the project, the complex will consist of a control unit, a generation unit, and a matrix of coaxial electrodes. The device will be adjusted for each carrier individually, in particular taking into account the current level of skin impedance.

- First, simple sensations that need to be simulated are generated: a short strike and striking up and down. Then the matrix of electrons is programmed into more complex cycles, for example, touching someone else's palm and possibly even moving their own wings, - says Andrei Kostornoy.

The existing analogs of the hardware and software complex – the GAMETRIX jetseater, 3rd Space Vest, the Teslasuit virtual reality suit, and others – can simulate bullet strikes, knife hits, and explosions. Most of them use vibrating motors. The device developed by TSU radiophysicists will work without connecting to the internet, and it will be less than 1.8 kg. At the same time, electrostimulation will make the sensations more vivid and clear.