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Title: Improved haptic interaction for large workspace, multi-sensory, dynamic virtual environments
Author: Barrow, Alastair
ISNI:       0000 0004 2717 0587
Awarding Body: University of Reading
Current Institution: University of Reading
Date of Award: 2010
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Virtual Reality (VR) is a rapidly advancing scientific field which enables humans to experience environments other than that which they physically inhabit. Humans use all their senses to interact in the real world and there should be no difference when using VR. This thesis explores the current state-of-the-art in Multi-Sensory Virtual Reality (MSVR) and presents new techniques for improving the level of interaction and realism in touch enabled MSVR. It is shown that, of the three senses which are commonly included in MSVR: vision, audition and haptics (touch), haptics is the least well represented. Further, it is observed that haptic interaction is particularly lacking in two areas: natural object manipulation and large workspace interaction. Object manipulation is limited by the number of contact points a haptic device can provide and there are both hardware and software challenges related to this. It is also limited by the realism of simulated object motion which is more complex for haptics than purely visual-auditory simulations. A novel haptic rendering algorithm, called the xFCA, has been designed to improve multi-finger manipulation of arbitrarily shaped objects. Also, a software platform known as MUSI has been developed which integrates the xFCA into a dynamic rigid-body simulator to allow the natural manipulation of virtual objects. The challenges in the development of MUSI, along with its advantages and limitations are discussed. Two new approaches to increasing the workspace of haptic devices have been investigated. The first, a novel haptic rendering technique which provides force feedback related to velocity is applied to a virtual shopping trolley. The second, a novel method of chaining devices together, is used to create a multi-finger haptic interface for both large and fast movements. Finally, both systems have been integrated into an MSVR simulator and the results of this are also discussed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available