Erin Woo

Computer Science

Applying Haptic Touch Amplification in Virtual and Mixed Reality Environments

There is the question of whether or not dynamic haptics can be empirically advantageous in terms of user engagement and preference, based on the assumption that more senses are engaged in the process. Touch amplification can be implemented in a virtual reality environment to demonstrate the ways it can enrich user experiences. Haptic touch amplification poses the solution of dynamic haptic feedback in the form of a finger-worn device. The device uses audio mixing as an innovative approach to processing and producing haptic feedback. As a user touches a surface or object, the force signals produced by the touch are recorded at the tip of the finger by a piezoelectric sensor. The signals are then mixed, amplified and outputted as vibrations onto the proximal area of the finger by an actuator. In order to show the effectiveness of the device's implementation, it's necessary to show the scope of its possible usage in both 2D and 3D settings. This project will be focusing on the development of applications in virtual reality using Oculus Rift and Unity in C#. The effectiveness of touch amplification in virtual reality can be investigated upon by extending the simple 3D button interface into the electronic handheld game Simon, where a pilot study is conducted to quantitatively measure the nature of the user’s touch. By graphically representing data calculated by the device’s accelerometer, this data can be used as a point of comparison between augmented and virtual reality preference with the finger-worn device.

UC Santa Barbara Center for Science and Engineering Partnerships UCSB California NanoSystems Institute