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Mixed Haptic Feedback for Mid-Air Interactions in Virtual and Augmented Realities

Objective

“Touch comes before sight, before speech. It is the first language and the last, and it always tells the truth” (Margaret Atwood), yet digital content today remains focused on visual and auditory stimulation. Even in the realm of VR and AR, sight and sound remain paramount. In contrast, methods for delivering haptic (sense of touch) feedback in commercial media are significantly less advanced than graphical and auditory feedback. Yet without a sense of touch, experiences ultimately feel hollow, virtual realities feel false, and Human-Computer Interfaces become unintuitive. Our vision is to be the first to imbue virtual objects with a physical presence, providing a revolutionary, untethered, virtual-haptic reality: H-Reality.
The ambition of H-Reality will be achieved by integrating the commercial pioneers of ultrasonic “non-contact” haptics, state-of-the-art vibrotactile actuators, novel mathematical and tribological modelling of the skin and mechanics of touch, and experts in the psychophysical rendering of sensation. The result will be a sensory experience where digital 3D shapes and textures are made manifest in real space via modulated, focused, ultrasound, ready for the untethered hand to feel, where next-generation wearable haptic rings provide directional vibrotactile stimulation, informing users of an object's dynamics, and where computational renderings of specific materials can be distinguished via their surface properties.
The implications of this technology will be far-reaching. The computer touch-screen will be brought into the third dimension so that swipe gestures will be augmented with instinctive rotational gestures, allowing intuitive manipulation of 3D data sets and strolling about the desktop as a virtual landscape of icons, apps and files. H-Reality will transform online interactions; dangerous machinery will be operated virtually from the safety of the home, and surgeons will hone their skills on thin air.
Leaflet | Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors, Credit: EC-GISCO, © EuroGeographics for the administrative boundaries

Coordinator

THE UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM

Address

Edgbaston
B15 2tt Birmingham

United Kingdom

Activity type

Higher or Secondary Education Establishments

EU Contribution

€ 806 957,50

Participants (4)

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ULTRAHAPTICS LIMITED

United Kingdom

EU Contribution

€ 593 350

ACTRONIKA

France

EU Contribution

€ 597 742,50

TECHNISCHE UNIVERSITEIT DELFT

Netherlands

EU Contribution

€ 398 495

CENTRE NATIONAL DE LA RECHERCHE SCIENTIFIQUE CNRS

France

EU Contribution

€ 598 420

Project information

Grant agreement ID: 801413

Status

Ongoing project

  • Start date

    1 October 2018

  • End date

    30 September 2021

Funded under:

H2020-EU.1.2.1.

  • Overall budget:

    € 2 994 965

  • EU contribution

    € 2 994 965

Coordinated by:

THE UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM

United Kingdom