HALUX

halux haptics siggraph

SIGGRAPH was also host to some other smaller experiments. One was an untethered system of many small vibrating units that were controlled by detecting projected light, called ‘HALUX’, by researchers from the Kajimoto Laboratory at The University of Electro-Communications. I wore an HTC Vive, along with an arm sleeve embedded with HALUX, and stood in front of a projector. Certain patterns of light would then be projected when something came into contact with my virtual arm.

Now, this demo had problems with syncing as well, but as expected, in the split seconds it worked before the illusion was broken, it really did feel like something bumped into my arm. It worked because the timing of the visuals with the haptics were right, and didn’t work because they then went out of sync… or because I was bothered that the rectangular object I saw in VR was supposed to represent my arm.

Read the HALUX Research Paper

FinGAR

FinGAR haptics siggraph

Researchers from the same Kajimoto Lab also presented ‘FinGAR’, which attached vibrating and also electrically stimulating units at the ends of your fingers. Except this time, there wasn’t any VR, which made it more difficult for me to see the system’s potential.

The haptic sensations were more complex than what could be provided through mechanical vibration alone; I always had a thought in the back of my mind while trying the demo, that had it been in VR, it could have achieved a whole new level of realism. So even if one kind of feedback is very accurate and complex, it may not convey a sense of believability without the other senses to provide enough context for your brain to judge that what you’re feeling is an actual object rather than mere stimulation from a wearable device.

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Read the FinGar Research Paper


Suffice it to say, there were many unimpressive haptics experiments at SIGGRAPH, as synchronization, calibration, or other problems plagued them. It seems we still have a long road ahead of us to a truly convincing sense of touch within VR. There are other methods to achieve certain types of haptics, but vibration is the most popular, and some of the experiments at SIGGRAPH show that big improvements from what’s common today are quite possible.

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  • Steve Biegun

    I have to wonder if realistic haptic sensation is something that we as consumers would truly make use of. Many of the games we play involve some sort of action or danger. It makes me think of the promo for the Teslasuit that said “you can feel anything from a slight breeze to a gunshot,” which of course begs the question – “who would want to feel a gunshot?”

    • shoupart

      I think the appeal would be similar to people who like to play paintball or Airsoft, even when it involves the pain of getting shot with pellets.

    • Benjamin Outram

      Just reproduce nice sensations and not deadly ones! But I suppose there is also some satisfaction on inflicting pain maybe in a game..

      But the main thing I have learned from haptics is that even just vibration can be a powerful indicator to the mind that helps to stave off disbelief and help the mind to believe in the objective reality of virtual environments. It is exciting to think about what the coming years will bring.

      More information about the synesthesia haptic suit content and more of my work at benjaminoutram.com

    • brandon9271

      When they say “feel a gunshot” they obviously don’t mean feel an actual projectile rip through flesh and bone at 1,126 feet per second ;) Which, oddly enough happens so fast that many people don’t even know they’ve been shot until they see blood. It’s described by many as being hit by a hammer. I think it will be a long while before we have anything resembling real sensations and haptics will be crude vibrations for foreseeable future.

  • Benjamin Outram

    Benjamin Outram here. Thanks for covering the content I created for the full-body haptic vibration suit! Nice article.

  • David Christian

    VRhands.com

  • Gary

    Lolz combine this with a horror game and you have a deadly winner.