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Physically touching virtual objects using tactile augmentation enhances the realism of virtual environments

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1 Author(s)
Hoffmann, H.G. ; Dept. of Psychol., Washington Univ., Seattle, WA, USA

The study explored the impact of physically touching a virtual object on how realistic the VE seems to the user. Subjects in a "no touch" group picked up a 3D virtual image of a kitchen plate in a VE, using a traditional 3D wand. "See and touch" subjects physically picked up a virtual plate possessing solidity and weight, using a mixed-reality force feedback technique. Afterwards, subjects made predictions about the properties of other virtual objects they saw but did not interact with in the VE. "See and touch" subjects predicted these objects would be more solid, heavier, and more likely to obey gravity than the "no touch" group. Results provide converging evidence for the value of adding physical qualities to virtual objects. The study first empirically demonstrates the effectiveness of mixed reality as a simple, safe, inexpensive technique for adding physical texture and force feedback cues to virtual objects with large freedom of motion. Examples of practical applications are discussed.

Published in:

Virtual Reality Annual International Symposium, 1998. Proceedings., IEEE 1998

Date of Conference:

18-18 1998