Friday, December 21, 2007

Touchy-Feely Croquet

UNC's Jeff VanDrimmelen has recently begun exploring ways to integrate haptic technology with Croquet virtual worlds. Haptic technology allows simulations to convey information to users in the form of mechanical stimulation. Haptic devices typically transmit information in the form of vibrations or motions, thereby creating a sense of touching or feeling virtual objects. The main types of haptic devices are 1) tactile feedback devices (that generate resistance to user input movement) and force feedback devices (that generate movement back to the input device).

The Novint Falcon device is a new haptic device developed for use as a gaming peripheral and input device. The user interacts with a small knob with three degrees of freedom in movement at the front of what is otherwise a stationary desktop device. The knob is attached to the main body via three multi-hinged and motorized arms. The step motors within the arms feel what the user is doing as well as apply forces back to the knob.

Jeff recently posted this video about his earliest effort to integrate the Novint Falcon haptic device with Croquet technology.

1 comment:

Lesley said...

I've been following the croquet project since I ran into you at the airport in Denver in November. The haptic technology seems to have a real potential for the users I work with -- people with physical or mental disabilities that might prevent traditional access to an input device.

I'm very much a novice but am becoming a believer in open source and collabrative projects.