Touching is believing: creating illusions and feeling of embodiment with mid-air haptic technology

Pittera, Dario (2020) Touching is believing: creating illusions and feeling of embodiment with mid-air haptic technology. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

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Abstract

Over the last two decades, the sense of touch has received new attention from the scientific community.Several haptic devices have been developed to address the complexity of the sense of touch, the latest addition being mid-air (contactless) haptic technology. An interesting series of previous research has suggested an easier way to tackle the complexity of designing convincing tactile sensations by exploiting tactile illusions. Tactile illusions rely on perceptual shortcuts based on the psychophysics of the tactile receptors.

Currently, studies exploring the perceptual space of mid-air haptics and its applicability in the tactile illusions field are still limited in number. This thesis aims to contribute to the field of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) by investigating the perceptual design space of ultrasonic mid-air haptics technology.

Specifically, in a first set of three studies, we investigate the absolute thresholds (minimal amount of a property of astimulus that a user can detect) for control points (CP) at different frequencies on the hand and arm (Study 1). Then we investigate the optimal sampling rate needed to drive the device in an optimal fashion and its relationship with shape size (Study 2). Next, we apply a new technique to increase users’ performance in a shape discrimination task (Study 3).

In Study 4, we start the exploration of a tactile illusion of movement using contact touch and later, we apply a similar procedure to investigate the feasibility of creating a tactile illusion of movement between the two non-interconnected hands by using mid-air touch (Study 5).

Finally, in Study 6, we explore our sense of touch in VR, while providing an illusion of rain drops through mid-air haptics, to recreate a virtual hand illusion (VHI) to explore the boundaries of our sense of embodiment.

Therefore, the contribution of this work is threefold: a) we contribute by adding new knowledge on the psychophysical space for mid-air haptics, b) we test the potential to create realistic tactile sensations by exploiting tactile illusions with mid-air haptic technology, and c) we demonstrate how tactile illusions mediated by mid-air haptics can convey a sense of embodiment in VR environments.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of Engineering and Informatics > Informatics
Subjects: Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA0075 Electronic computers. Computer science > QA0076.9.A-Z Other topics, A-Z > QA0076.9.H85 Human-computer interaction
Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA0075 Electronic computers. Computer science > QA0076.9.A-Z Other topics, A-Z > QA0076.9.V5 Virtual computer systems
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 30 Sep 2020 10:22
Last Modified: 30 Sep 2020 10:22
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/94085

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