Virtual Reality Gets More Real

A medical device maker has developed technology to convey facial expressions in VR.


Virtual reality experiences, while still evolving, are immersive and even interactive, but most haven’t crossed the threshold to allow participants to convey any type of emotion.

Medical device maker MindMaze is looking to knock back that limitation with its technology called Mask, designed to convey facial expressions in VR environments, according to an article on Engadget. The foam insert, compatible with existing headsets, employs diodes to read biosignals and muscles, thus allowing a video gamer to interpret an opponent’s facial expressions, for example, to get a jump on whether they’re about to fire off a shot. The technology could also come into play to experience someone laughing at your jokes in a social network VR setting, the article said.

Rather than sell Mask directly, Engadget says MindMaze is looking to license the technology to VR headset makers, which could embed it in their existing products. The setup is comprised of eight diodes that are embedded in the foam cushion found in most headsets, the article said, and they are used to read electrical impulses and muscle activity on the wearer’s face. Machine learning algorithms then analyze the data to determine the appropriate facial expression and replicate it for the VR avatar, Engadget explains.

Can you see the smile on my face?

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