Abstract

Haptic feedback is known to improve 3D interaction in virtual environments but current haptic interfaces remain complex and tailored to desktop interaction. In this paper, we describe an alternative approach called “Elastic-Arm” for incorporating haptic feedback in immersive virtual environments in a simple and cost-effective way. The Elastic-Arm is based on a body-mounted elastic armature that links the user's hand to the body and generates a progressive egocentric force when extending the arm. A variety of designs can be proposed with multiple links attached to various locations on the body in order to simulate different haptic properties and sensations such as different levels of stiffness, weight lifting, and bimanual interaction. Our passive haptic approach can be combined with various 3D interaction techniques and we illustrate the possibilities offered by the Elastic-Arm through several use cases based on well-known techniques such as the Bubble technique, redirected touching, and pseudo-haptics. A user study was conducted which showed the effectiveness of our pseudo-haptic technique as well as the general appreciation of the Elastic-Arm. We believe that the Elastic-Arm could be used in various VR applications which call for mobile haptic feedback or human-scale haptic sensations.

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