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A Lightweight Electrotactile Feedback Device for Grasp Improvement in Immersive Virtual Environments

Hummel, Johannes and Dodiya, Janki and Eckardt, Laura and Wolff, Robin and Gerndt, Andreas and Kuhlen, Torsten (2016) A Lightweight Electrotactile Feedback Device for Grasp Improvement in Immersive Virtual Environments. In: Virtual Reality, Proceedings. IEEE. IEEE Virtual Reality, 2016-03-19 - 2016-03-23, Greenville, South Carolina, USA. doi: 10.1109/VR.2016.7504686. ISBN 978-1-5090-0836-0.

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Official URL: http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/7504686/


An immersive virtual environment is the ideal platform for the planning and training of on-orbit servicing missions, as it provides a flexible and safe environment. In such kind of virtual assembly simulation, grasping virtual objects is one of the most common and natural interactions. However, unlike grasping objects in the real world, it is a non-trivial task in virtual environments, where the primary feedback is visual only. A lot of research investigated ways to provide haptic feedback, such as force, vibrational and electrotactile feedback. Such devices, however, are usually uncomfortable and hard to integrate in projection-based immersive YR systems. In this paper, we present a novel, small and lightweight electro-tactile feedback device, specifically designed for immersive virtual environments. It consists of a small tactor with eight electrodes for each finger and a signal generator attached to the user's hand or arm. Our device can be easily integrated with an existing optical finger tracking system. The study presented in this paper assesses the feasibility and usability of the interaction device. An experiment was conducted in a repeated measures design using the electrotactile feedback modality as independent variable. As benchmark, we chose three typical assembly tasks of a YR simulation for satellite on-orbit servicing missions, including pressing a button, switching a lever switch, and pulling a module from its slot. Results show that electrotactile feedback improved the user's grasping in our virtual on-orbit servicing scenario. The task completion time was significantly lower for all three tasks and the precision of the user's interaction was higher. The workload reported by the participants was significantly lower when using electrotactile feedback. Additionally, users were more confident with their performance while completing the tasks with electrotactile feedback. We describe the device, outline the user study and report the results.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/109389/
Document Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Speech)
Title:A Lightweight Electrotactile Feedback Device for Grasp Improvement in Immersive Virtual Environments
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthor's ORCID iDORCID Put Code
Gerndt, AndreasUNSPECIFIEDhttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-0409-8573UNSPECIFIED
Kuhlen, Torstenvirtual reality group, rwth aachen university, germanyUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Journal or Publication Title:Virtual Reality, Proceedings
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:No
Gold Open Access:No
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
Keywords:B.4.2 [Input/Output Devices]: Channels and controllers; H.3.4 [Systems and Software]: Performance evaluation; 1.3.7 [Three-Dimensional Graphics and Realism]: Virtual Reality
Event Title:IEEE Virtual Reality
Event Location:Greenville, South Carolina, USA
Event Type:international Conference
Event Start Date:19 March 2016
Event End Date:23 March 2016
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Space
HGF - Program Themes:Space System Technology
DLR - Research area:Raumfahrt
DLR - Program:R SY - Space System Technology
DLR - Research theme (Project):R - Vorhaben On-Orbit Servicing - GNC und VR (old)
Location: Braunschweig
Institutes and Institutions:Institut of Simulation and Software Technology > Software for Space Systems and Interactive Visualisation
Deposited By: Gerndt, Dr.rer.nat. Andreas
Deposited On:20 Dec 2016 11:45
Last Modified:24 Apr 2024 20:14

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