Cristiano Carvalheiro has recently finished his master thesis and presented his dissertation entitled ‘Direct Haptics in MASSIVE’s Virtual Reality Experiences’, a work graded with distinction, supervised by Rui Rodrigues and Hugo Machado da Silva.
Project MASSIVE(Multimodal Acknowledgeable multiSenSory Immersive Virtual Environment (link
) is a project that intends to integrate all the five human senses in immersive virtual environments so that the experiences in these environments can be perceptually equivalent to the real ones.
The motivation of the dissertation arises from the lack of great alternatives to transparently provide haptic feedback to users in immersive virtual environments. A solution based on direct haptics is proposed as a novel framework for interaction in virtual environments, in which the haptic feedback is directly received from real objects instead of using virtual reality gloves or similar devices. In addition, as it is not always possible or useful to have a 1-to-1 mapping between the real and virtual worlds, the system allows for redirection of user in warped virtual environments.
A functional prototype was developed and tested with the help of users, achieving great results regarding what was expected in this embrionanic phase, which appears to validate the initial solution. Among other technologies, the functional prototype made use of Oculus Rift DK2, Leap Motion controller and the Kinect v2 sensor to track the movements of users and objects, allowing the user to manipulate a simple object with his hands.
The solution seems to be in a good position to greatly improve the user’s experience in virtual reality experiences regarding haptic feedback. The work started in this dissertation will be continued in order to produce a more complete and robust solution that will be integrated in the MASSIVE project.