HairTouch is a new concept designed for virtual reality enabling users to feel in VR, whether it be the hair of virtual reality animals or other textures within virtual worlds. HairTouch has been developed by researchers Chi-Jung Lee, Hsin-Ruey Tsai and Bing-Yu Chen, using an Arduino Mega board together with a custom 3D printed frame, enabling VR users to feel hair or fibers of varying lengths. “If you’ve ever wanted to feel the difference between a virtual tabby cat and a virtual Maine Coon, this is the haptic feedback gadget that you’ve been looking for.” Check out the video below for a demonstration.
“Using a series of servo motors, HairTouch adjusts the bristles of a brush. It can control how far those bristles protrude, which is also related to their rigidity. It also adjusts the angle of the bristles, so the user can differentiate the feel of a Pomeranian from a Collie. Those adjustments correspond to the VR object that the user is currently touching. The engineers designed HairTouch to attach to VR controllers, so, at least theoretically, it can work with existing VR systems.”
“Tactile feedback is widely used to enhance realism in virtual reality (VR). When touching virtual objects, stiffness and roughness are common and obvious factors perceived by the users. Furthermore, when touching a surface with complicated surface structure, differences from not only stiffness and roughness but also surface height are crucial. To integrate these factors, we propose a pin-based handheld device, HairTouch, to provide stiffness differences, roughness differences, surface height differences and their combinations. HairTouch consists of two pins for the two finger segments close to the index fingertip, respectively.
By controlling brush hairs’ length and bending direction to change the hairs’ elasticity and hair tip direction, each pin renders various stiffness and roughness, respectively. By further independently controlling the hairs’ configuration and pins’ height, versatile stiffness, roughness and surface height differences are achieved. We conducted a perception study to realize users’ distinguishability of stiffness and roughness on each of the segments. Based on the results, we performed a VR experience study to verify that the tactile feedback from HairTouch enhances VR realism.”
Source : Arduino Blog
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