Tokyo-based startup H2L is currently in the process of developing the Unlimited Hand, a virtual reality armband. This armband is designed to merge man with machine in such a way that the user feels like they touching onscreen objects. The armband itself is a slick, discreet white band that can be worn on the users arm. It would allow users to “simulate bodily encounters” with elements in the virtual world. This is possible due to the inner workings of the armband which is composed of a haptic sensor, which monitors and reacts to movement as well as a series of electronic muscle stimulators (EMS) which simulate the feelings associated to touch.
An interesting component of this armband is that it is also meant to simulate the feeling of pain, which would bring up a series of ethical questions concerning the limits and potential of such a piece of technology. The immersive nature of the process ties in well with questions of interactivity and art, and with a device of the sort, the possibility of creating interactive artworks would be expanded on many levels.
The impact of such a device on different art forms is interesting to think about, in the way that it would allow a full immersion of the senses. A full immersion of the senses in the virtual world would be a fascinating combination of science and art and would allow us to push the boundaries of both disciplines.