Design and Preliminary Evaluation of a Dextrous Encounter Type Force Feedback Interface

Anthony Chabrier, Florian Gosselin, Wael Bachta

Abstract

Force feedback interfaces aim at allowing natural interactions with a virtual or distant environment with a physical sense of presence. Commercially available systems suffer however two limitations. First, most of them are equipped with a handle whose geometry constraints the movements that can be efficiently simulated to the manipulation of tools shaped like the handgrip. Second, the handle is always grasped in hand and the user feels the friction and inertia of the system even in free space, hence a limited transparency. Dexterous interfaces were introduced to cope with the first issue, while encounter type devices, which are detached from the user’s hand and contact it only when haptic feedback is required, allow to tackle the second limitation. To date however, no device efficiently integrates both principles. The aim of this paper is to introduce a new device intended to do so, i.e. to be both dexterous, allowing to simulate any grasp type (limited to two fingers in a first step), and of encounter-type, hence an improved transparency. Its design is presented in details, and first experimental results showing the ability of the device to follow user’s movements are introduced.

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