IS&T/SPIE Electronic Imaging 2008
Conference paper

Virtual hand: A 3D tactile interface to virtual environments

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We introduce a novel system that allows users to experience the sensation of touch in a computer graphics environment. In this system, the user places his/her hand on an array of pins, which is moved about space on a 6 degree-of-freedom robot arm. The surface of the pins defines a surface in the virtual world. This "virtual hand" can move about the virtual world. When the virtual hand encounters an object in the virtual world, the heights of the pins are adjusted so that they represent the object's shape, surface, and texture. A control system integrates pin and robot arm motions to transmit information about objects in the computer graphics world to the user. It also allows the user to edit, change and move the virtual objects, shapes and textures. This system provides a general framework for touching, manipulating, and modifying objects in a 3-D computer graphics environment, which may be useful in a wide range of applications, including computer games, computer aided design systems, and immersive virtual worlds. © 2008 SPIE-IS&T.