A design approach on tactile gloves for commercial usage in the video game industry

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School of Arts, Design and Architecture | Master's thesis
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P1 OPINNÄYTTEET D 2015 Zeitler
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132 + 6
Over more than three decades, the video game industry has grown to become a multi-billion dollar industry. Users of all ages dedicate countless hours of their valuable free time to engage themselves in a flourishing world of adventure and entertainment, enabling them to escape their modern daily routines. With giant leaps in hardware and software development, the industry has managed to take gamers from a world of monotone pixel jumping to incredibly complex and realistic environments. Video games give users the ability to become warriors, heroes, drivers or strategists that can either challenge or cooperate with players from across the world in a community based on mutual interests. But the industry seems to be slowing down. The big players in the field, basing their new products solely on more realistic graphics, do not live up to the consumers expectations for innovation. It is the realism that makes the player want to achieve more. But what exactly is realistic, when considering that you are pushing and pulling plastic buttons on a gamepad? A trend that can be observed, is that the industry is slowly moving into virtual reality with the introduction of new products by start-ups such as the Oculus Rift, providing glasses capable of tracking your head movement or the Virtuix Omni, allowing the use of your body to freely move through a virtual environment. These products gained a lot of attention at the latest game conventions and although they still encounter minor technical problems, they are powerful tools for the gaming world, especially when working together. The player is now capable of traveling through fictional environments by foot and able to freely look around, but what about the hands? When being fully engaged in an imaginative world, the user wants to further interact with the environment by grabbing objects or opening doors for instance. This thesis investigates the idea of incorporating the user physically into the game, aiming for the development of a functional tactile glove prototype providing users with an even more immersive gaming experience. Tactile gloves use various mechanisms to create the illusion of grabbing actual objects in a virtual environment. This goes as far as being capable to feel the density of an object. In order to identify the weaknesses and opportunities with tactile gloves, various tools such as literature, expert insights, and consumer studies are utilized. The data collected and work conducted throughout this process is evaluated and discussed critically to obtain the most adequate and suitable solution. Various tactile gloves exist already, however the most sophisticated glove on the market is priced at over $39,000 and is mainly used at research institutions. The overall aim will be to create an affordable solution for commercial usage in the gaming industry.
Keinonen, Turkka
Thesis advisor
Mikkonen, Jussi
video games, immersive, gaming, realistic, tactile, gloves
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