As if the Metaverse weren’t creepy enough, scientists have now developed a technology that allows users in the virtual world to kiss each other.
The device, which uses haptic feedback to provide a sensation to the mouth lips and tongue, was developed by adding special ultrasonic transducers to a VR headset, according to a report from The Sun.
Although the Metaverse focuses on visual, sound and hand controls, this technology can simulate vibrations in and around your mouth that are associated with activities such as drinking water from a fountain, having a coffee, brushing your teeth and even smoking a cigarette.
The Metaverse has been touted as a place where people will be able to live out their fantasies – whether that’s fighting their enemies on a battlefield or going on a date with the woman of their dreams.
But for these experiences to be truly immersive, it’s not just about what you can see and hear in the metaverse, but also what you can feel.
Now scientists in Pennsylvania have revealed a steamy new technology that makes it possible to ‘kiss’ someone in the metaverse by sending life-like sensations to your lips, teeth and tongue.
The scientists have modified a virtual reality (VR) headset by fitting it with haptic technology, meaning it simulates touch by applying forces, vibrations and motions.
It uses a thin array of transducers integrated into the underside of the VR headset that direct ultrasound energy at different parts of the mouth.
As well as kissing sensations, the tech could be used to drink from a virtual water fountain or take a puff from a cigarette.
The prototype headset, which is an adapted Oculus Quest 2, has been developed by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University’s Future Interfaces Group in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Importantly, the modified headset doesn’t require any equipment to be put up against or into a user’s mouth; instead, the components are rested above the nose.
According to the team, the mouth has been largely overlooked as a haptic target in VR and augmented reality (AR), despite being second in terms of sensitivity behind the fingertips.
Usually, haptic feedback applies vibrations to a person’s hands via controllers, often in video games to match the gameplay (such as feeling a vibration in FIFA when a football strikes the post).
‘Proximity of the mouth to the headset offers a significant opportunity to enable on- and in-mouth haptic effects, without needing to run wires or wear an extra accessory,’ the researchers say.
‘We developed a thin, compact, beamforming array of ultrasonic transducers, which can render haptic effects onto the mouth.