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This startup wants to make people feel actual pain in the metaverse

All of this will hopefully increase immersion in virtual worlds.

user with a virtual reality headset on and an armband that mimics physical touch in the metaverse
Image: H2L

A Japanese startup called H2L Technologies has built a wristband that can simulate sensations like touch and weight. The Sony-backed company can also create the feeling of pain. This device could enable better immersion into the metaverse.

Using electrical stimulation, the wristband can create a wide range of sensations. Those could be weight, sensations like pinches, or even squishing a ball. Think of it as force feedback for the metaverse; an extension of haptic taps or vibrations from your console controller or smartphone.

The ability to simulate weight and pain is a way to make the metaverse more immersive, and have our presence there feel more natural.

h2l armband simulating the feeling of a bird perching on your finger
Image: Designboom / H2L

Everyday sensations can be mapped out; then recreated as if the real thing is happening. They always say “life is pain,” but maybe it’s one of the essential parts of the human condition that virtual worlds are missing.

READ MORE: Epic Games is pumping $2 billion into the metaverse

It’s a more elegant solution than the inflatable gloves in development by Meta. Instead of inflatable pads, this uses direct electrical stimulation. The wristband made by H2L seems to stimulate the nerves to create sensations; similar to the knee-jerk reaction you get when a doctor taps your knee tendon.

This technology could enable the metaverse to function similarly to the real world, with a wide range of sensations. Anything from throwing a ball, to more intimate encounters could be simulated.

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