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Natural Touch Interaction for Virtual Reality and Teleoperation via Ungrounded Tactile Shear Feedback, Phase I

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

The proposed research innovation will create a low-cost, intuitive means for people to have multi-fingered interaction with Robonaut 2 and training simulations via tactile shear feedback. This work builds on the PI's prior university research. Tactile shear feedback imparts friction and shear forces to the user's hand via sliding plates that are built into the handle of the grasped device. These sliding plates rub against the user's skin and induce in-hand friction forces to create perceived force/torque-like sensations despite not being connected to a fixed surface. Translational motions and forces can be portrayed along the length of the handle by moving the sliding plates in unison in the corresponding direction; whereas moving the plates at opposing locations in the handle in opposite directions creates the feeling of the device's handle wrenching within the user's grasp. To this novel form of haptic feedback, the PI proposes to add a more intuitive means for a user to interact with virtual and teleoperated environments by allowing the user to open and close his/her grasp as he/she would naturally do when grasping an object. It is hypothesized that adding the ability for the user to interact by opening and closing his/her grasp will provide improved interaction performance and be preferred by users. The proposed work also creates the ability to individually control the fingers on multi-fingered robot hands like those on Robonaut 2. Our developed haptic interface will provide a low-cost means for mission scientists, astronauts, and others to interact with Robonaut 2. The developed interface will also provide greater access for planning and training of EVAs, and could provide a more intuitive interface for ground personnel to operate and supervise robots. Furthermore, the developed system's low cost would also permit it to be used directly in NASA outreach / STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math) activities. More »

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