One of the findings from our first round of tests for the system we have developed for our AHRC Digital Transformations project “Transforming Transformation” is that users have difficulty precisely grabbing an object within a virtual 3D environment if they only have visual feedback to guide them.

The final phase of the project will therefore entail incorporating haptic (vibrotactile) feedback into the interaction design. As with the initial system design a very simple model will initially be explored. Specifically, when a users hand is “on” or “inside” a sound (represented by a sphere in the virtual environment) vibration feedback will be provided to the user’s hand. Our intention is that this gives the perceptual effect of being able to “feel” sounds within the space with the aim of drastically improving ability to accurately grasp sounds. Once a basic feedback system has been implemented we will conduct a formal user study and measure any improvements.

Details on some of our previous work with haptics can be found here.