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Fingertip haptics

A PhD student from the University of Reading demonstrates a device that combines a 3D environment with a multi-fingertip, haptic device.
So essentially this is a workbench which combines 3D virtual reality with multi-fingered haptic robotics. So as you can see, Victoria’s wearing some 3D glasses, and she’s looking down at a scene which consists of a surface and some cubes and a ball. This is all in 3D, but the cool thing about this setup is we’ve also simulated it haptically, so not only can Victoria see the objects in 3D, she can reach out, pick them up, for example, stack the bricks, or pick a brick up and drop it down onto the surface. And the two small haptic devices below the mirror, which Victoria’s moving with her hands, that’s what is giving her the haptic feedback.
So when you pick something up, you can squeeze it pretty much as hard as you like, and it’s really, you know, completely solid. You can also simulate very fine-grained texture. So, say, like a wooden surface. You get very fine texture keys off that surface. Similarly, the ball in this simulation is a bit compliant and squishy. So this is similar to the technology we use in the VR lab with the haptic master. But whereas the haptic master is a single point of contact, this is multiple points of contact. And it just allows you to really up the realism. And all of this can scale-up. So here we’ve got two haptic devices, but you can easily have three or four.
So you can interact with three or four fingers on one hand, and also you can have it set up so that you can interact with both hands.

Dr Peter Scarfe, researcher and lecturer from the School of Psychology at the University of Reading introduces PhD student, Victoria Oguntosin, demonstrating one of the devices designed and built by Cybernetics Researchers at the University of Reading.

The device consists of a workbench that enables the user to manipulate a pile of blocks and explore different surface textures, using a combination of 3D virtual reality and a multi-fingered, haptic robot.

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