Servizio Comunitario di Informazione in materia di Ricerca e Sviluppo - CORDIS

3D geometry haptic engine

The research institute SINTEF and the SME CompuTouch from Norway have developed prototype software for a specific use of CompuTouch's tactile motors, thus combining the expertise of CompuTouch in tactile motors and the expertise of SINTEF in 3D geometry. This software allows it to interrogate digital 3D objects and to experience the feedback through the sense of touch using the tactile motors. The 3D objects are given either as triangulations (a large set of triangles) or in the standard CAD (computer-aided design) format of B-spline patches, but other geometric representations could easily be included. Computable properties of these 3D objects, such as curvature or smoothness, can be translated into tactile feedback patterns defined by the user. This is not only the case for the geometry, i.e. the spatial description, of an object, but includes the texture and its properties as well. One significant and novel aspect of the work is the use of a PC's graphics hardware as a computational resource to speed up the necessary computations enormously.

This prototype software therefore opens up large possibilities for use in virtual reality applications to feel objects and their properties through the fingertips, in addition to seeing them. This approach will offer significant gains in perception possibilities, for example for medical environments, the presentation of cultural heritage objects in museums (which was the test application for the MUVII project) and the computer games industry. A special focus will be put on the needs of the vision-impaired and blind, since this technology offers unique chances for them to relate to digital objects by getting haptic (touch) feedback. Potential partners are invited to work together with SINTEF and CompuTouch to adapt this software to a specific application scenario, for example in the areas indicated above, but not limited to them, and bring this technology to commercial use.

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SINTEF - Stiftelsen for Industriell Og Teknisk Forskning Ved Norges Tekniske Hoegskole
Forskningsveien 1
0314 Oslo
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