Samsung develops artificial muscle actuators for immersive VR, AR – ET Telecom

Seoul: Samsung Electronics has revealed an ambitious augmented reality/virtual reality (AR/VR) project that leverages compact artificial muscle actuators to enable fast image focus in AR/VR and tactile feedback for VR controllers, media reports say.

According to SamMobile, two of the tallest barriers to VR/AR immersion are the lack of variable focus and tactile feedback.

An image rendered inside a VR headset does not change focus between objects according to the user’s line of sight. Similarly, VR and AR controllers lack the tactile feedback depth and versatility to trick users into thinking that virtual objects they might happen to interact with have weight to them.

When using VR or AR headsets, there is a disconnect between what the eye sees and what the human body feels — and how the brain translates those interactions and discrepancies between senses.

But, Samsung may have come up with a solution to overcoming these barriers and elevating immersion by using artificial muscle actuators in its future VR/AR headsets.

Samsung’s engineers have created a lightweight, high-power Compliant Amplified SMA Actuator (CASA) using Shape Memory Allow (SMA), the report said.

These actuators weigh only 0.22 grams but have a maximum actuation strain of 300 per cent under 80 grams of external payload. In translation, Samsung’s artificial muscle actuators can lift payloads 800 times heavier than their weight.

The technology described by Samsung in a new Nature Communications paper achieves variable focus in a mixed reality helmet using these fast, powerful, and lightweight actuators that can minimise the lag between the user’s shift in focus and whatever is happening on the screen.

It all sounds very futuristic. The promise of immersive VR and AR is quite appealing, but there’s no information regarding availability and when this technology might be ready for use in Samsung consumer devices, the report said.

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