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SenseGlove Nova & Volkswagen: VR Simulations for Training Industrial Workers

SenseGlove, a developer of force feedback gloves for virtual reality (VR), has unveiled the results of a SenseGlove case study conducted in cooperation with Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles.

SenseGlove Nova is a haptic force-feedback glove designed specifically for professional VR training purposes. Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles implemented and tested SenseGlove Nova for automotive VR training in assembling a Volkswagen T6 door in order to improve the realism of VR simulation and to protect the expensive vehicles from damage that could potentially occur during on-hand training. Assembly line trainees who donned SenseGlove Nova haptic force feedback gloves in a virtual environment were able to physically feel the virtual parts of the vehicle, explore the details of the virtual door, and interact with them in a natural way.

SenseGlove Nova features a flexible form factor in combination with haptic technologies and hand tracking that enables users to feel shapes, textures, stiffness, impacts, and resistance in virtual reality. Nova’s touch-enabling technology can be used to upscale all kinds of VR training programs, such as training to handle hazardous materials, carrying out complex tasks with multiple tools and objects, and learning to design and test physical prototypes.

According to SenseGlove, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles has experimented with VR and haptics for the past few years in order to improve the efficiency of its pre-training program and save time. VR enables Volkswagen employees to train from any location without the need to visit the company’s professional showroom to access vehicles. The combination of haptic gloves and VR helps to increase the realism of VR training and allows trainees to get familiar with the equipment at an early stage of production.

“We want to make the pre-training as realistic as possible for two reasons. First, it saves time. The employees from the line do not have to come to our physical location to train; they can experience it in VR. Second, it enables us to keep the expensive pre-series vehicles we need here in the professional showroom in order to qualify the employees,” said Friedrich Mattiszik, Head of the Production System at Volkswagen.

Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles began testing the SenseGlove Nova in 2021 in an effort to compare traditional controller-based VR training to VR training that uses haptic force-feedback gloves. Traditional VR training allowed Volkswagen to protect the training equipment from being damaged, however, it did not allow trainees to interact naturally. Additionally, the need to continuously keep the controllers in the user’s hands meant trainees were unable to grab things, let them go again, or feel the details of different sizes in their hands.

“One hundred percent of the trainees who completed the T6 vehicle assembly training found it more realistic to work with SenseGlove Nova versus the controller, simply because they could do more, like grabbing things. It just feels more realistic,” added Marcos Antelo Barrio, Trainer at Volkswagen.

The feeling of realistic physical interaction is possible due to the combination of SenseGlove’s force feedback, vibrotactile feedback, and motion capture features. The force-feedback gloves allow those in assembly training to:

📍 Feel the parts of equipment that need to be assembled;

📍 Ascertain the difference between the sizes and density of each part;

📍 Feel every impact when they connect or insert parts;

📍 Feel vibration when they work with a drilling machine.

Combined with motion capture, the features allow trainees to interact in a similar way as they would in physical training, according to SenseGlove.

Day after day we hear about all the different technologies being created to immerse ourselves even more in the virtual reality world, proving that the future for industries resides in the world of Extended Reality. So,  will you stay behind and use archaic systems or will you step forward and take advantage of XR?

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