Docking Haptics: Extending the Reach of Haptics by Dynamic Combinations of Grounded and Worn Devices

by   Anthony Steed, et al.

Grounded haptic devices can provide a variety of forces but have limited working volumes. Wearable haptic devices operate over a large volume but are relatively restricted in the types of stimuli they can generate. We propose the concept of docking haptics, in which different types of haptic devices are dynamically docked at run time. This creates a hybrid system, where the potential feedback depends on the user's location. We show a prototype docking haptic workspace, combining a grounded six degree-of-freedom force feedback arm with a hand exoskeleton. We are able to create the sensation of weight on the hand when it is within reach of the grounded device, but away from the grounded device, hand-referenced force feedback is still available. A user study demonstrates that users can successfully discriminate weight when using docking haptics, but not with the exoskeleton alone. Such hybrid systems would be able to change configuration further, for example docking two grounded devices to a hand in order to deliver twice the force, or extend the working volume. We suggest that the docking haptics concept can thus extend the practical utility of haptics in user interfaces.


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