WAVY Project – Wearable hAptics for Virtual realitY
Virtual reality (VR) has long been reserved for academia and industry. Today, it is finding its way into education, tourism, art, therapy and many other areas. Virtual reality has gained increasing interest in the consumer market in recent years thanks to the impact of technological advances in headsets, controllers and visual and audio rendering. However, a truly successful and complete virtual reality experience relies on exploiting all sensory modalities and giving the user the illusion that they are in a realistic world. To this end, a convincing haptic feedback, which allows touching and feeling during the interaction, is cruelly lacking.
The WAVY project aims to meet this new demand and the associated challenges by providing a new portable haptic device for virtual reality and making it accessible to the public.
Coordinated by the Sensory and Ambient Interfaces Laboratory at the CEA List, this new ANR project also involves ISIR in a partnership with Sorbonne University led by David Gueorguiev, CNRS Research Fellow; the start-up GoTouch VR, expert in haptic technologies; and the Arts and Science Workshop, a joint research and creation platform shared with CEA Grenoble.
Description of the WAVY project by David Gueorguiev who leads the project on the Sorbonne University side.
What does the project involve?
The main improvements in the field of virtual reality are in visual and auditory rendering. To date, there is no haptic device that provides convincing feedback in its various dimensions (vibration, force, textures, etc.).
Haptics for virtual reality is a topic with a long story and several scientists and companies have been working on it since the advent of interactive virtual reality in the 1980s, but mainly focusing on technical advances for each sensation and for specific applications (e.g. shooting games). With the public as the new target, new solutions, based on recent technological advances, need to be explored to overcome technical limitations and provide a richer experience through compelling sensory illusions.
WAVY aims to design an advanced wearable haptic device for virtual reality, focusing on sensory illusions and making it accessible to the public. It is positioned in relation to three main research areas:
- wearable haptic devices and in particular kinesthetic devices;
- sensory illusions;
- a framework for easily designing haptic feedback for virtual reality and fostering creative processes.
What is the objective of the project?
More specifically, the objectives of the WAVY project are:
- to study the combination of multisensory perceptual illusions and haptic feedback (vibration, skin pressure, kinesthetic feedback) to enhance the overall experience in terms of presence, emotion, quality of feedback, etc.;
- design a lightweight, compact and affordable handheld haptic device for virtual reality that provides kinesthetic, vibrotactile and skin pressure feedback;
- further research into the haptic creation process and the development of a framework for “generic haptics”; this is to make it easier for people with little expertise in haptics to design haptic feedback for VR regardless of the device used and its capabilities.
What are the expected results?
The expected result is a device with a wide range of feedback (vibration, skin pressure, resistive feedback) associated with a software solution for creating haptic interactions and sensory illusions. The objective is that this software tool should be accessible and can be used to develop virtual reality applications via artistic and industrial use cases.
The WAVY project is part of the interdisciplinary research conducted at ISIR at the interface of robotics and cognitive sciences. It is more particularly integrated into the haptics, human-computer interaction and neuroscience of touch themes within the Multi-scale Interactions team.
Contact for the project: David Gueorguiev, CNRS Research Fellow