ECS opens 1st Orlando haptics technology lab

An Orlando-based simulation and training company has opened a haptics-centric lab at its headquarters as it begins work on a U.S. Army contract to evaluate a trio of haptics-enabled vendor gloves.

The Engineering & Computer Simulations project, which is funded through 2024 by the Army’s Simulation and Training Technology Center, will determine the effectiveness of three sets of haptics gloves.

While initial studies will focus on their performance for medical training, plans are underway to expand the studies into aviation maintenance and marksmanship simulation.

The new lab will allow ECS to integrate and refine haptics technology into virtual, mixed, augmented and extended realities, CEO Waymon Armstrong said in a news release.

“The ability to develop and test within this space ensures we continue to enhance the innovative global training products and services for our warfighters, first responders and enterprise clients,” he said.

Haptics enhance the realism of technologies like virtual reality by pairing a visual display with gloves that pulse or vibrate in real time as a user is immersed.

The lab will also dive into front-end analysis and testing of the hardware.

The vendor gloves being studied include the VRgluv, HaptX Gloves DK2 and gloves from BeBop.

National Center for Simulation president and CEO George Cheros said Armstong’s firm has long been a leader in the industry.

“It’s no surprise that they are one of the first technology and training firms to dedicate lab space to research and advance haptic technology for implementation in our simulation and training programs.”