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Whole-hand kinesthetic feedback and haptic perception in dextrous virtual manipulation

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1 Author(s)
Tzafestas, C.S. ; Lab. de Robotique de Paris, France

One of the key requirements for a Virtual Reality system is the multimodal, real-time interaction between the human operator and a computer simulated and animated environment. This paper investigates problems related particularly to the haptic interaction between the human operator and a virtual environment. The work presented here focuses on two issues: 1) the synthesis of whole-hand kinesthetic feedback, based on the application of forces (torques) on individual phalanges (joints) of the human hand, and 2) the experimental evaluation of this haptic feedback system, in terms of human haptic perception of virtual physical properties (such as the weight of a virtual manipulated object), using psychophysical methods. The proposed kinesthetic feedback methodology is based on the solution of a generalized force distribution problem for the human hand during virtual manipulation tasks. The solution is computationally efficient and has been experimentally implemented using an exoskeleton force-feedback glove. A series of experiments is reported concerning the perception of weight of manipulated virtual objects and the obtained results demonstrate the feasibility of the concept. Issues related to the use of sensory substitution techniques for the application of haptic feedback on the human hand are also discussed.

Published in:

Systems, Man and Cybernetics, Part A: Systems and Humans, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:33 ,  Issue: 1 )