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Touching illusory objects:
Sculpting human perception through virtual reality

Speaker: Gabriel Robles-De-La-Torre, Founder, International Society for Haptics

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This lecture was sponsored by The New York Academy of Sciences and The William A. Haseltine Foundation for Medical Sciences and the Arts.

Abstract
We have all experienced visual perceptual illusions. It is much less widely known that there are also perceptual illusions in the sense of touch. This lecture discusses one of these illusions, involving haptic perception of the shape of objects. This illusion is experienced when haptically exploring paradoxical objects. Such objects consist of normally impossible combinations of sensory cues (object geometry and contact forces), created through haptic technology. Contact forces can determine how paradoxical objects are perceived. For example, forces can perceptually transform actual shape features (e.g., surface bumps) into radically different percepts (e.g., surface holes). This effect can be applied to haptically render virtual objects with challenging features such as sharp borders. An analogue of this illusion during locomotion is discussed. Additionally, a brief introduction explains the basics of haptic force-feedback technology, and outlines why touch and related human capabilities are critically important for normal human functioning.

Lecture delivered at the New York Academy of Sciences (7 World Trade Center, New York City) on April 14th, 2007. This lecture was part of the NYAS conference "Biology and Art: two worlds or one?". The lecture is part of the corresponding eBriefing from the New York Academy of Sciences

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This lecture was part of the New York Academy of Sciences conference entitled "Biology and Art: Two worlds or one".  You can also browse the entire NYAS eBriefing on this conference. The eBriefing includes NYAS-commissioned comments on the conference, lectures and speakers, as well as additional materials such as websites and publications. 

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INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY FOR HAPTICS
Previous Lectures

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       "A Tactile Display Using Acoustic Radiation Pressure" 
       Abstract
       Takayuki Iwamoto
       Shinoda Laboratory 
       Graduate School of Information Science and Technology
       The University of Tokyo 
       This lecture is open to all. Click  here to download materials

       "Display of Haptic Shape at Different Scales"
       Abstract 
       Vincent Hayward
       Haptics Laboratory
       McGill University
       Canada

      "The Dutch-Belgian Haptics Network"
       Abstract
       Göran Christiansson
         Delft Robotics Lab
         TU Delft
         The Netherlands

       "Experimental Evidence of Lateral Skin Strain During Tactile Exploration"
       Abstract
       Vincent Levesque
         Haptics Laboratory
         McGill University
         Canada
       May 26th, 2004

       "Some Studies on Haptics"
       Abstract
       Bernd Petzold
        Institute for Machine Tools and Industrial Management 
        TU Muenchen (Techn. Univ. Munich) 
        Germany
       November 10th, 2003

     "A Multirate System Approach to the Stability of Haptic Interaction 
     with Deformable Objects"
       Abstract
Domenico Prattichizzo
     Dipartimento di Ingegneria dell'Informazione
     Università di Siena
     Italy
Mid-July 2003. 

"Haptic Orbs; Origins and New Directions"
Abstract
Michael Wallace
     President, Global  Haptics, Inc. 
     USA
April 4th, 2003 

Inaugural Society Lecture
     "Haptics in Microrobotics" 
Abstract
Aleksandr Shirinov
     Department of Computer Science 
     Carl von Ossietzky Universität Oldenburg
     Germany
February 18th, 2003

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Lecture abstracts

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Inaugural Society Lecture
     "Haptics in Microrobotics" 
Aleksandr Shirinov
     Department of Computer Science 
     Carl von Ossietzky Universität Oldenburg
     Germany
February 15th, 2003

Different haptic interfaces are used today for force-feedback-enabled teleoperation of microrobots. By using haptic interfaces in microrobot control systems, it is possible to experience the forces that occur in the microworld. The realistic, real-time sensing of microforces and visual information from the working area allow to perform real-time, precision microrobot control.

During the past years, many different haptic interfaces have been developed. In
microrobotics, the most well-known and widely used interfaces are the Phantom device from Sensable Technologies, the Delta device from Freedom Co., and force-feedback joysticks, for instance the Wingman Strike Force 3D from Logitech. However these interfaces don't allow an user to operate microrobots with dexterity. At the present time, there aren't flexible haptic interfaces that are specialised for the control of microrobots.

We figured out that, for the successful control of microrobots, a haptic interface with the following features should be developed:

With the ability to provide force-feedback in a wide range of forces (100,000:1).

It should allow for micro robot control over a big range of distances (100,000,000:1).

It should have a big bandwidth, to be able to represent high frequency components 
of forces acting at micro objects.

It should have an intuitive mechanical interface, which follows the form of the microrobot end effector.

It should have control elements (buttons) placed on the haptic manipulandum for real-time micro-assembly station control in different modes without the need for a keyboard or mouse.

It should provide a cost-effective solution for microrobot teleoperation.

We are currently developing a haptic interface in our institute, which  should be specialised for the force-feedback teleoperation of microrobots. In this lecture, the structure of the microrobot's control system will be described, and the haptic interface under development will be presented.

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"Haptic Orbs; Origins and New Directions"
Michael Wallace
President, Global Haptics, Inc. 
mgw@globalhaptics.com

Abstract

Haptic orbs are essentially closed convex surfaces covered or embedded with tactile sensors.  The relationship between any sensor position and the centroid of the orb defines a ray.  The plurality of rays emanating from the orb provides an intuitive mapping to three dimensional (3D) space, either virtual or real.  This mapping yields a practical and inexpensive means to control at least 3 degrees of freedom (DOF) for computer input.  Coupled with simple rotational and other solutions, a versatile 6 DOF input device is realized.

A number of open source and license – based software products now communicate with haptic orbs, including VRPN, Rhino3D, and the TORQUE game engine sdk.  These allow the orb to be applied to a variety of tasks or tests. 

Haptic orbs have their own unique attributes, compared to other devices.  These lead naturally to simplification and resolution of several issues which have interested some haptics researchers.  Haptic orbs are the first isotonic device class that does not require tracking, for example.

The unique attributes of haptic orbs also natural lead to unique challenges for their full potential to be realized.  Current concerns for haptic orb prototypes revolve around proprioception, tactility, persistance and acquisition.  These issues have built up a perception that the landscapes of haptic orbs will likely mutate into a wide variety of ways.  These may include overlapping multi-scalar and multi-modal sensor configurations.

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"A Multirate System Approach to the Stability of
Haptic Interaction with Deformable Objects"
Domenico Prattichizzo
Dipartimento di Ingegneria dell'Informazione
Università di Siena
Italy

A new technique for allowing users to haptically interact with a deformable slowly-simulated object in a stable manner is presented. Stability has been approached in the past by various researchers using passivity theory in order to avoid having to model the human operator closing the haptic loop. None of these solutions however can work well without the use of high update rates and thus break down in the case of haptic interaction with slowly simulated virtual environments such as the ones featuring highly precise deformable objects.  This is particularly true for the case of surgical simulation with force feedback, where precision is a key issue and where complexity can reach high levels.  The technique presented in this lecture are based on the concepts of local model for haptic interaction adapted to deformable objects. A multi-rate system theoretic approach is used to prove the stability of the simulation loop. Work is in progess to prove the stability of the the multi-rate system by means of the passivity theory mathematical tools. All the data presented in the lecture have been collected through experiments running on a PHANTOM haptic interface.

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"Some Studies on Haptics"
Bernd Petzold
Institute for Machine Tools and Industrial Management 
TU Muenchen (Techn. Univ. Munich
Germany

The advantages of force feedback are not obvious to everybody. In many enterprises, force feedback is seen as a kind of expensive toy for researchers. For that reason, a study was made to show these people that haptic feedback can improve man-machine interaction. To achieve realistic interaction, the hypothesis was made that two hands have to be integrated in the setup. But as haptic devices vary strongly in shape, size, DOFs, function and more, it is important to know which device is suited best for the dominant and the non-dominant hand. The results of a study on that topic will be also explained and discussed in the lecture.

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"Experimental Evidence of Lateral Skin Strain During Tactile Exploration"

Vincent Levesque
Haptics Laboratory
McGill University
Canada

This presentation describes an experimental platform for the study of stretch and 
compression of the human fingerpad skin during tactile exploration. A digital camera 
records the sequence of patterns created by a fingertip as it slides over a transparent
surface with simple geometrical features. Skin deformation is measured with high temporal
and spatial resolution by tracking anatomical landmarks on the fingertip. Techniques 
adapted from the field of online fingerprinting are used to acquire high-contrast fingerprint 
images and extract salient features (pores, valley endings, and valley bifurcations). The 
results of experiments performed with surfaces with a bump or hole and flat surfaces are 
presented. This work is motivated by the need to provide meaningful `tactile movies' for a 
tactile display that uses distributed lateral skin stretch.

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"The Dutch-Belgian Haptics Network"
Göran Christiansson
Delft Robotics Lab
TU Delft
The Netherlands

This presentation is about the Dutch-Belgian Haptics Network. In our small countries, there is research on haptics and teleoperation on more than ten places, but with very few people at each lab. Therefore we started a network last year to support each other, and to help the new researchers enter the field as fast as possible. Most of us do research on force-oriented haptic feedback for teleoperation, with a main focus on medical robotics, and a few on vibrotactile feedback. We want to present how we started this network, and our experiences on running this type of local, low-cost community. If you have any questions, please mail Göran Christiansson (g.a.v.christiansson@wbmt.tudelft.nl)

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Display of Haptic Shape at Different Scales 

Vincent Hayward 

Haptics Laboratory 

McGillUniversity

Canada

Abstract. This lecture describes three haptic devices which can create the experience of haptic shape, each at a different scale. They operate by causing fingertip deformations that match the scale of the features of the objects being virtually touched. For large objects, shape display is obtained by the movement of the deformed contact area on the skin, for medium objects, display is given by the deformation of the fingertip rolling laterally, and for small objects, by stretching and compressing the skin locally. These display modes can in principle be combined to make complex displays operating at different scales. 

Acknowledgements. This is Prof. Hayward's Keynote Lecture at Eurohaptics 2004. Offering this lecture in electronic format was made possible by the following persons. Prof. Hayward (McGill University; member, International Society for Haptics), who suggested the idea; Prof. Martin Buss (Tech. Univ. Munich and Eurohaptics 2004 Chair) and Dr. Marc Ernst (Max Planck Institute Tubingen, Eurohaptics 2004 Co-Chair; member, International Society for Haptics), who kindly supported the idea and made it possible to record and edit the lecture; Hasan Esen (Tech. Univ. Munich) edited the slides and video, and Vincent Levesque (McGill University; member, International Society for Haptics) optimized the audio. The International Society for Haptics would like to thank all of them for their efforts.

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"A Tactile Display Using Acoustic Radiation Pressure" 
Takayuki Iwamoto
Shinoda Laboratory 
Graduate School of Information Science and Technology
The University of Tokyo 

Download lecture materials: Slides (pdf), Audio (MP3), Movies (zipped MPEG).

Mr. Iwamoto was the winner, with Prof. Hiroyuki Shinoda, of the Best Student Paper Award at WorldHaptics 2005. In this lecture he discusses his award-winning work, plus new work on 2-D ultrasonic tactile displays.

Abstract

This lecture describes a new method for producing tactile sensation with acoustic radiation pressure and the design and development of tactile displays which implemented this method. By scanning a focal point of the radiation pressure using arrayed ultrasound oscillators, the display can create various spatio-temporal patterns of pressure on the surface of the skin with sufficient spatial and temporal resolution. The details of the design and evaluation of the 1-D prototype display are discussed. We are fabricating a 2-D prototype display. Several initial results on the 2-D prototype are also shown.
 

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