If you’ve tried virtual reality games or creativity applications, you’re probably thought something along the lines of, “This is really neat, but it’s missing the part where I get pushed in the face over and over.” While perhaps you had a bit different thought process at the time, it’s easy to see where a controlled facial push to indicate stimuli or guide you in the correct direction could enhance the experience.
To this end, researchers at Keio University in Japan and National Chiao Tung University in Taiwan have come up with FacePush, a system of pulleys that pulls on a head-mounted display (HMD) to produce a force on your face. The setup attaches to the popular HTC Vive HMD, and consists of a pair of motors activated by an Arduino Uno with a motor control board. When the virtual environment calls for it, the motors pull on the headsets straps, using proportional-integral-derivative (PID) control for smooth functioning.
Applications tested include a boxing game, where impacts can literally be felt by the user; a dive simulator, where headset pressure is used to simulate the flow of water; and an attention guidance system, which actually pushes the user to pay attention to the correct scene in 360° video. The system integrates nicely into the headset selected, and the concept could certainly be applied to other systems as well. You can check out the short demo in the video above, while more details are available in the project’s research paper.