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Cobity: A Plug-And-Play Toolbox to Deliver Haptics in Virtual Reality

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Haptics increase the presence in virtual reality applications. However, providing room-scale haptics is an open challenge. Cobots (robotic systems that are safe for human use) are a promising approach, requiring in-depth engineering skills. Control is done on a low abstraction level and requires complex procedures and implementations. In contrast, 3D tools such as Unity allow to quickly prototype a wide range of environments for which cobots could deliver haptic feedback. To overcome this disconnect, we present Cobity, an open-source plug-and-play solution to control the cobot using the virtual environment, enabling fast prototyping of a wide range of haptic experiences. We present a Unity plugin that allows controlling the cobot using the end-effector’s target pose (cartesian position and angles); the values are then converted into velocities and streamed to the cobot inverse kinematic solver using a specially designed C++ library. Our results show that Cobity enables rapid prototyping with high precision for haptics. We argue that Cobity simplifies the creation of a wide range of haptic feedback applications enabling designers and researchers in human-computer interaction without robotics experience to quickly prototype virtual reality experiences with haptic sensations. We highlight this potential by presenting four different showcases.


Villa, Steeven; Mayer, Sven (2022): Cobity: A Plug-And-Play Toolbox to Deliver Haptics in Virtual Reality. Mensch und Computer 2022 - Tagungsband. DOI: 10.1145/3543758.3543775. New York: ACM. pp. 78-84. MCI-SE02: Tools and Technology. Darmstadt. 4.-7. September 2022