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VR’s newest innovation is blatantly going to be used for porn

It’s been a rough week for virtual reality, with Microsoft saying the next-gen Xbox won’t support the technology because “no-one is asking for it.” Well, the latest VR innovation could see plenty of people asking for it, in a different way entirely.

Scientists at Northwestern University have developed a new haptic patch that could replicate the sensation of human touch. The idea is somewhat reminiscent of the vibrations felt from a video game controller, but in a much more advanced manner.

In the example cited in a Scientific American report, a mother video chatting with her young son pats an interface, which is reflected via a wearable patch as a loving pat on the back.

That’s very nice and all, but this is blatantly going to be used for VR porn isn’t it? That’s especially apparent in the description of the materials used to make the patch.

It’s described in the Scientific American report as a “lightweight, soft patch of fabric-like material that can flex and twist like a wet suit, maintaining direct contact with the wearer’s skin as their body moves.”

Related: Best VR headsets 2019

It goes on to say the device features “an array of actuators, each of which can be activated individually and tuned to different vibration frequencies to convey a stronger or weaker sensation.”

The creators envision this technology to be build into a full body suit that has 1,000 actuators. So yeah. The researchers are starting with prototype devices worn on different parts of the body for more wholesome use cases.

Project lead John A. Rogers said: “If you take a look at what exists today in VR and AR, it consists primarily of auditory and visual channels as the main basis for the sensory experience, but we think that the skin itself—the sense of touch—could qualitatively add to your experience that you could achieve with VR, beyond anything that’s possible with audio and video.”

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