Enhancing the Stiffness Perception of Tangible Objects in Mixed Reality Using Wearable Haptics

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PubDate: August 2018

Teams: Univ Rennes

Writers: Xavier de Tinguy; Claudio Pacchierotti; Maud Marchal; Anatole Lécuyer

PDF: Enhancing the Stiffness Perception of Tangible Objects in Mixed Reality Using Wearable Haptics

Abstract

This paper studies the combination of tangible objects and wearable haptics for improving the display of stiffness sensations in virtual environments. Tangible objects enable to feel the general shape of objects, but they are often passive or unable to simulate several varying mechanical properties. Wearable haptic devices are portable and unobtrusive interfaces able to generate varying tactile sensations, but they often fail at providing convincing stiff contacts and distributed shape sensations. We propose to combine these two approaches in virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR), becoming able of arbitrarily augmenting the perceived stiffness of real/tangible objects by providing timely tactile stimuli at the fingers. We developed a proof-of-concept enabling to simulate varying elasticity/stiffness sensations when interacting with tangible objects by using wearable tactile modules at the fingertips. We carried out a user study showing that wearable haptic stimulation can well alter the perceived stiffness of real objects, even when the tactile stimuli are not delivered at the contact point. We illustrated our approach both in VR and AR, within several use cases and different tangible settings, such as when touching surfaces, pressing buttons and pistons, or holding an object. Taken together, our results pave the way for novel haptic sensations in VR/AR by better exploiting the multiple ways of providing simple, unobtrusive, and low-cost haptic displays.

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