The Haptics Laboratory works on the engineering and design of design of haptic interfaces, that is, of systems, which comprise software and hardware components that concern the sense of touch.
They work on on-line computational models of interaction between objects (deformation, friction, cutting, etc) which can provide high-fidelity simulations as needed, for example, in the construction of surgical simulators. They are also interested in construction of surgical simulators. They are also interested in the study of perpetual effects involving touch, and to take advantage of them to create devices, visualization methods and tactile displays.
The laboratory is involved in exciting applications including rehabilitation, operator assistance in space, medicine, and computer music performance. In the past ten years, a Varity of haptics devices were created, including the Pantograph and the Freedom-7.Other devices based on different principles are presently being developed Actuators and their methods of control, being at the source of movement, are also of great interest.
The laboratory has also made contributions in robot programming, trajectory generation, mechanism design and computational collision detection. The Haptics Laboratory is the center for Intelligent Machines at McGill University.
What is haptic interaction?
"A haptic interface is a force reflecting device which allows a user to touch, feel, manipulate, create and/or alter simulated 3D objects in a virtual environment" haptic. (Adjective Grk: haptein) having to do with the sense of touch; tactile haptics = touch, tactile, force-feedback, using force/resistance, texture, heat, vibration
How does it work?
Force display technology works by using mechanical actuators to apply forces to the user. By simulating the physics of the user's virtual world, we can compute these forces in real-time, and then send them to the actuators so that the user feels them.
Why is it going to be important?
" Bill Buxton "hands on = finger on"
" Not exploiting the interface to keep up with computing power
" More 3D and VR environments in games and elsewhere
" Demand for richer input and output possibilities
" Reduction in fatigue
" Increase in productivity and comfort
" decreased learning times
" Large reductions in manipulation errors
What sorts of products are being produced?
" The Phantom haptic interaction device
" Magnetic levitation interaction devices
" Exoskeleton devices
" The Freedom 7
Device turns computer into means for touching virtual objects
Like a high-tech version of a child's interactive "touch and feel" book, this computer interface lets users feel a virtual object to learn its shape, and whether it's rough as sandpaper, hard as rock or hot as fire. What use is that, one might ask? Plenty, if you're in the business of creating new ways for humans and computers to interact. One of the stickiest problems in developing advanced human-computer interfaces is finding a way to simulate touch. Without it, virtual reality isn't very real. Now a group of researchers at MIT's Artificial Intelligence Laboratory have found a way to communicate the tactile sense of a virtual object -- its shape, texture, temperature, weight and rigidity -- and let the user change those characteristics through a device called the PHANToM haptic interface