'Virtual Exertions' Research Uses Muscle Activity to Move Virtual Objects

Today's smartphones and tablets offer gestural interfaces that allow users to access information with the swipe of a hand. Yet researchers have found that most technology falls short in making people feel as if they're interacting with virtual objects the same way they would with real objects. A research team at the University of Wisconsin-Madison has developed a way to move virtual objects in an immersive virtual reality environment through the use of muscle activity. Along with making virtual reality more interactive and realistic, the research could have rehabilitation applications for people with injuries or disabilities. The UW-Madison researchers developed the software and process for a pilot study in which participants move virtual objects in the CAVE, a fully immersive six-sided room that projects 3D environments on its walls.