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Virtual Reality (VR) can be a truly breathtaking place as well as an experience, but a touch of an object in the virtual world does not quite equate a physical touch you would expect in real life, and that is where these VR gloves come in.

Called Dextres, scientists from EPFL and ETH Zurich have worked to address this with newly developed thin and light VR gloves. One VR glove comes in at less than 8 grams per finger and allows for haptic feedback; an "unparalleled" freedom of movement when touching objects in any virtual world. The glove is also 2mm thick and is currently powered by a thin electrical cable, but the system is low voltage and scientists developing the project are working to use a very small battery instead.

The glove is created using a nylon material and features thin elastic metal strips over the fingers. The strips are separated by a thin insulator, which can react whenever contact is made inside a virtual world with virtual objects. As part of the reaction, an onboard controller applies a shock to the metal strips, which causes them to stick together. In turn that then creates a braking force which then blocks the movement of the fingers, signalling that a virtual object is being held. Once the virtual object is dropped, the voltage is then again removed to allow movement once again.

"The human sensory system is highly developed and highly complex. We have many different kinds of receptors at a very high density in the joints of our fingers and embedded in the skin. As a result, rendering realistic feedback when interacting with virtual objects is a very demanding problem and is currently unsolved. Our work goes one step in this direction, focusing particularly on kinesthetic feedback," Otmar Hilliges, head of the Advanced Interactive Technologies Lab at ETH Zurich, said in a statement.

The Dextres glove improves on all current VR gloves by removing a bulky exoskeleton, pumps, and thick cables. It is a step in the right direction and researchers are looking to scale up the glove and bring it to other parts of the body using this conductive fabric.

Though just a concept, for now, the technology definitely looks promising for gamers and the augmented reality field. It might even be something that NASA can use in training.

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