Vetting Haptics Technology for Our Customers

Vetting Haptics Technology for Our Customers

Elara Explores HapticsElara has spent almost two decades devoted to understanding how to create effective media. From scripts, to storyboards, all the way to the final product, we are focused on understanding what tools work best when creating the right media to fit our customer’s needs. Here at Elara, we understand that the concept of touching and interacting with virtual objects is a foreign concept to many. The media on our screens, or in our VR headsets, have rarely had any form of interaction in the past. Surround sound speakers, rumbling controllers, and moving theatre seats are all perfect examples of haptics at work today, but what about up-and-coming technologies? Where are haptics currently at? And, most importantly, how ready are these concepts for every day, real world solutions?

Many developments in haptic technologies have been focused on the improvement of interacting with virtual objects through haptic devices. These devices range in size and complexity, from robotic equipment, all the way to unique wearable technologies. Each are usually paired with Virtual or Augmented Reality headsets, to help you visualize the virtual objects you will be interacting with. Haptic gloves send vibrations against your hands, and tug against your fingers, to give you a sensation of force against your skin. As a result, this allows you to feel the weight, texture, and pressure of a virtual object in your hand, or let you brush your fingers through virtual grass. Wearables like these focus on emulating realistic sensations against your hand, to help better trick the mind into thinking that the world around them is immersive and responsive. Practical use-case scenarios of these haptics would find themselves in exploration-focused simulations and games, as the haptics offer greater level of realism on your hands.

One of the problems currently facing haptic technologies is the application of force. While haptic gloves might be able to offer you a chance to simulate vibrations against your hand, or stop your fingers from curling through the virtual ball in your grip, it cannot stop your arm, or the rest of your body, from swinging through these things. Wearable technology still has a long way to go before we find a conventional solution to these problems.

However, another type of haptic technology has made breakthroughs on that particular front. Instead of using your hand as the medium for interaction, using a robotic arm attached to a stylus allows the user to experience the force of objects in a rather unique way. If the stylus’ tip were to press against a virtual object, the arm attached to it will tighten, pull back, or apply force in resistance to your own. This mechanism, seen in devices such as the 3D Systems Touch Haptic Device, gives the user a large amount of realism to the manipulation and interaction of virtual objects. The precision of the device offers a uniquely new way to interact with the virtual world, and opens up a variety of different possibilities for precision and task oriented interactive experiences.

From sketching against a 3D surface in VR to the insertion of a surgical tool at the correct angle and pressure, these haptic-arm devices have a variety of practical usages in today’s market. While limited by a single point of interactivity, these devices are perfect fits for safety and instructional training, or medical procedure simulations. The haptic frontier continues to develop, and Elara is eagerly anticipating its steady growth into the world of interactive simulations and experiences.

From 3D animations to interactive media, Elara specializes in understanding and developing the right solution to meet your needs. If you are interested in hearing how we can bring your ideas to life, contact us today!

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