RSP Partners with Smart Fabric Innovator BeBop on VR Glove

The Challenge: Improve the VR User Experience

For over five years, the team at RSP has been working with BeBop Sensors, an innovative company that creates smart fabric and sensor products for the consumer health, robotics and virtual reality sectors. BeBop Sensors wanted to develop a product that addressed a number of deficits in the virtual reality experience. Most important, they realized that tactile sensation in VR had not kept pace with technological advances in VR headsets. This meant that while users were seeing and hearing VR worlds in new and enhanced ways, they were not as immersed in them as they might be with a more responsive tactile experience. The BeBop team also knew from their research that fine motor skills in VR are difficult and that users, especially new ones, find the VR experience unintuitive.

To solve these problems, BeBop began developing a proprietary fabric for use in a new VR glove product. This sensor-rich piezoresistive—or pressure-sensitive—material offered the potential for more immersion into VR worlds, which would transform the user experience.

Solution: The Forte Data VR Glove

Once the BeBop team had developed the smart fabric, they set to work on designing the company’s Forte Data Glove product. The Forte Data Glove is a full-featured VR haptic glove that combines accurate finger tracking and rotational sensors with lightning-fast latency to allow for truly immersive VR experiences. The glove’s fabric enables users to feel objects in the virtual world by creating complex vibrations with the on-board granular synthesizer. By sending unique sensations to the actuators on each finger and the palm, the gloves can craft sensations that have never been felt before.

What Programs Do These VR Gloves Work With

The virtual reality haptic gloves were designed to connect with a range of VR headsets, including Oculus and Windows Mixed Reality, and support a variety of major programming environments including Unreal, Unity, Python, Vive, C++ and Java.

There are four primary differentiating features of the Forte Data Glove that make it unique in the VR space.

Extremely low-latency performance over Bluetooth and USB provides almost instantaneous response, mimicking real-world experience. The powerful, responsive haptics feature gives immersive touch feedback. An open-palm design offers hygienic, lightweight and breathable function. Its intuitive development allows users to pinch, grab and interact with the virtual world with their own hands.

The Forte Data Glove was designed for several use cases across the markets BeBop serves. These include hands-on training; medical data collection for clinical trials and rehabilitation; object control of drones or robots using hand motion; user-interface control for navigating 3D maps or data; and design and testing of products in virtual reality.

This video from CES 2019 demonstrates some of the diverse applications where the glove is being developed.

Longtime Partnership with RSP

Once the BeBop team had designed the Forte Data Glove prototype, they needed a contract manufacturer to help bring the product to market. With more than 50 years of experience as a full-service turnkey manufacturer, RSP Inc. has partnered with countless entrepreneurs at every stage of the process, from prototyping and product design to logistics like packaging and shipping.

After a decade-long relationship with RSP, BeBop’s founder, audio pioneer Keith McMillen, had experienced RSP’s demonstrated expertise firsthand and knew RSP was the right contract manufacturer for the Forte Data Glove. McMillen had come to expect “excellent customer service, skilled and creative manufacturers, and competitive and transparent pricing” from RSP. The RSP team delivered once again.

RSP’s expert teams collaborated with one another and with BeBop to efficiently produce and bring the Forte Data Glove to market. Some of the many ways RSP assisted include:

  • Providing a design for manufacturing review: the engineering team took something that requires hours to assemble in a “lab” setting and created an efficient mass-production method.
  • Improving assembly and quality: RSP’s manufacturing team played a role in developing custom equipment fixtures.
  • Implementing a multi-disciplinary approach: the project team dedicated engineering resources as well as a rapid-response manufacturing team to quickly turn around prototypes and modified samples to deliver client solutions.

When asked how RSP performs as a manufacturing partner, McMillen reflected on RSP’s expertise and signaled a bright outlook for the companies’ future partnerships. “RSP’s years of manufacturing experience augments our ability to bring challenging and cutting-edge products to market,” said McMillen. “We have brought products to market with them and intend to do so with many more to come.”

As entrepreneurs ourselves, we know how important it is to find a manufacturing partner you can trust for your own innovative products. From prototyping to full-scale production, we can help make your idea a reality. Contact us today and make RSP your contract manufacturing partner.

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