Ohio-based startup Contact CI has recently launched its Maestro EP haptic gloves EP haptic gloves, which mimic the enclosed tendon layout of the human body. By tugging on a cotton sock covering each fingertip, they deliver light to moderate haptic input. The glove’s fingers also have vibrotactile feedback technology.
The “multi-force ergonomic haptics” device is compatible with any hand-tracking system. The Department of Defense and enterprises have already purchased the gloves for $3,750 a pair, primarily for simulation training, while Contact CI works to refine the design for a wider commercial use.
The Maestro EP contains encased cables that move subtly between the forearm-mounted mechanism housing and the fingertips, as opposed to earlier haptic feedback gloves that use mechanical rigging on the back of the hand to push and pull on fingertips physically. The lightweight housing appears big, yet it had no effect on my experience during my demo inside a VR headset.
Pushing buttons and flipping switches is a natural and effective use since all the haptic input is at your fingertips. Object catching, on the other hand, was less fruitful since it required more of your palm than your fingertips.
“Contact CI has done an excellent job of blending force feedback and vibrotactile feedback; they have been able to create complex tangible interactions like switchology tasks inside VR cockpits while using a wireless, lightweight wearable glove,” said USAF simulator chief innovation officer Margaret Merkel in a press release for CES 2023.
Whilst Contact CI continues to sell the gloves as-is, it is clear from the care required to put them on appropriately that the design has to be simplified and made more durable. However, due to the obvious cable system they have integrated, they can withstand rigorous use and have the potential to become a well-liked consumer accessory product.