Mobile Collaborating Robots for Direct Haptics in Mixed Reality

Information

  • Publication Type: Master Thesis
  • Workgroup(s)/Project(s):
  • Date: April 2021
  • Diploma Examination: 12. April 2012
  • Open Access: yes
  • First Supervisor: Hannes Kaufmann

Abstract

After technological advancements in computer graphics and miniaturization of electric circuits, virtual reality has finally found its way into the consumer market. Commercial VR systems like HTC ’s Vive allow their wearers to experience virtual worlds realistically enough to feel audio-visually immersed. However, when interacting with the simulated environment, the limitations of such a system become apparent quickly. They o˙er no haptic capabilities or feedback beyond what is integrated in their hand-held input devices. Additional body-worn equipment, like haptic suits or exoskeletons, deliver only rudimentary haptic experiences or encumber the user’s ease of movement with excessive weight. Haptic hardware of the ‘encounter’ type are often constrained to a specific location within the simulation area or deliver only soft touching sensations because of their highly mobile but fragile architecture. Therfore, this thesis covers the topic of creating a VR system with haptic feedback and describes its design and implementation in a room sized setup. The paper shows how a mobile manipulator, like the RB-Kairos, can be combined with a virtual reality headset, like the Vive, to deliver real world props into the hands of users to enhance their virtual experience. To track the manipulator’s position with the same accuracy of the VR headset, the Vive’s Lighthouse tracking solution is integrated into the robot. On the software side, the system takes advantage of the Robot Operating System (ROS), which is already configured to control the robot’s basic functionality and is extended to include new modules handling the deliverance of haptic sensations. The simulation of the visual part of this project is handled by the gaming engine Unity, which features a variety of plugins suitable to create basic VR applications with minimal e˙ort. The communication between VR application, RB-Kairos and user is handled wirelessly via radio signals which allows unrestricted mobility for participants and robots within the simulation area. The subsequent technical evaluation o˙ers insights to operating parameters and lists potential enhancement and upgrade possibilities.

Additional Files and Images

Additional images and videos

Additional files

Weblinks

No further information available.

BibTeX

@mastersthesis{Sprung_2021,
  title =      "Mobile Collaborating Robots for Direct Haptics in Mixed
               Reality",
  author =     "Reinhard Sprung",
  year =       "2021",
  abstract =   "After technological advancements in computer graphics and
               miniaturization of electric circuits, virtual reality has
               finally found its way into the consumer market. Commercial
               VR systems like HTC ’s Vive allow their wearers to
               experience virtual worlds realistically enough to feel
               audio-visually immersed. However, when interacting with the
               simulated environment, the limitations of such a system
               become apparent quickly. They o˙er no haptic capabilities
               or feedback beyond what is integrated in their hand-held
               input devices. Additional body-worn equipment, like haptic
               suits or exoskeletons, deliver only rudimentary haptic
               experiences or encumber the user’s ease of movement with
               excessive weight. Haptic hardware of the ‘encounter’
               type are often constrained to a specific location within the
               simulation area or deliver only soft touching sensations
               because of their highly mobile but fragile architecture.
               Therfore, this thesis covers the topic of creating a VR
               system with haptic feedback and describes its design and
               implementation in a room sized setup. The paper shows how a
               mobile manipulator, like the RB-Kairos, can be combined with
               a virtual reality headset, like the Vive, to deliver real
               world props into the hands of users to enhance their virtual
               experience. To track the manipulator’s position with the
               same accuracy of the VR headset, the Vive’s Lighthouse
               tracking solution is integrated into the robot. On the
               software side, the system takes advantage of the Robot
               Operating System (ROS), which is already configured to
               control the robot’s basic functionality and is extended to
               include new modules handling the deliverance of haptic
               sensations. The simulation of the visual part of this
               project is handled by the gaming engine Unity, which
               features a variety of plugins suitable to create basic VR
               applications with minimal e˙ort. The communication between
               VR application, RB-Kairos and user is handled wirelessly via
               radio signals which allows unrestricted mobility for
               participants and robots within the simulation area. The
               subsequent technical evaluation o˙ers insights to operating
               parameters and lists potential enhancement and upgrade
               possibilities.",
  month =      apr,
  address =    "Favoritenstrasse 9-11/E193-02, A-1040 Vienna, Austria",
  school =     "Research Unit of Computer Graphics, Institute of Visual
               Computing and Human-Centered Technology, Faculty of
               Informatics, TU Wien ",
  URL =        "https://www.cg.tuwien.ac.at/research/publications/2021/Sprung_2021/",
}