Category: Research

Project TANGO – Computational Modelling of Tangible Objects on Multisensory Interfaces

In a constantly evolving world where the boundaries between the real and the virtual are fading, user interfaces are undergoing a radical transformation. Screens are becoming reprogrammable and predominantly feature virtual buttons, while interactions from the physical world find their digital counterparts. As the concept of the metaverse becomes more prevalent in our lives, virtual environments and applications will need to incorporate haptic interactions and tactile sensations to provide a truly immersive experience. The scientific and technical challenge at hand is to create devices and software capable of reproducing the sense of touch in the digital and virtual world while maintaining an intimate connection with the user.

Led by David Gueorguiev, CNRS research associate, the TANGO project, Computational Modelling of Tangible Objects on Multisensory Interfaces, draws inspiration from the growing need for tactile sensations in new user interfaces.

Winner of the “ERC Starting Grant 2023” call, his research is supported by funding from the European Research Council (ERC).

While ERC projects are primarily personal, collaborations are envisioned with researchers outside of ISIR, including Professor Katherine Kuchenbecker from the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Stuttgart and Professor André Mouraux from the Catholic University of Louvain.

Description of the TANGO Project by David Gueorguiev

The TANGO Project – A Holistic Approach

Touch plays an important role in the transmission of immersive sensations and represents an essential factor in improving interactions with digital interfaces and virtual environments. A growing number of interfaces offer haptic renderings, but stimulating the richness of touch in synchrony with the other senses remains a major challenge.

TANGO is an interdisciplinary project at the intersection of neuroscience and human-machine interaction. Its mission is to address the challenges of multisensory rendering of tangible objects in a holistic manner. It simultaneously explores multidimensional haptic stimulation techniques, tactile acuity across perceptual dimensions, and multisensory integration mechanisms. One of the project’s distinctive features is its consideration of two crucial human factors: age and sensory deficiencies in interface users. The research conducted within this project aims to develop methods that symbiotically exploit the capabilities of haptic technology and the cognitive principles of human perception.

Objective: A Toolkit for HCI Designers

The primary goal of the project is to create a toolkit for human-computer interaction (HCI) designers. This toolkit will be based on computational models of multisensory integration developed throughout the project’s duration. It will enable designers to define the optimal combination of haptic stimuli and required resolution based on the specificities of their applications and associated technical constraints. The expected outcome is the creation of applications whose haptic realism is optimized compared to a purely empirical approach.

Diverse Applications

The potential applications of the project are numerous and diverse. Among them, virtual reality represents a significant domain where rich haptic feedback is essential for users to navigate virtual worlds more immersively. The results can also be applied to interactive screens in museums, creating new ways to engage the public. Furthermore, augmented multisensory maps can assist individuals with visual impairments in familiarizing themselves with building layouts, and tactile dashboards in cars can help drivers maintain focus on the road.

The TANGO Project at ISIR: A Multidisciplinary Collaboration

The context of ISIR is particularly conducive to the development of the TANGO project. ISIR stands out for its multidisciplinary approach, fostering interactions among researchers from various complementary disciplines. The project naturally aligns with three strong themes at the laboratory: human-machine interaction, computational neuroscience, and haptics, which is David Gueorguiev’s primary research focus. Close interactions are planned with colleagues working on the NeuroHCI project, sharing certain points in common with the TANGO project. Additionally, TANGO will be integrated into ISIR’s research platform, further enhancing collaboration among the teams.

Scientific Contact: David Gueorguiev, CNRS Research Associate