Haptics in Virtual Reality



#StudioIntegrativeDesign #Master-Thesis

The master's thesis is researching on the intersection of virtual reality and haptics and investigates the effects of visuality on tactile experience. Special emphasis is given to the question if and how incongruous stimuli can override sensual feedback.

The test setup's goal was to create an environment enabling the user to touch different objects in physical space and in virtual space simultaneously. Additionally, the test series' framework was conceived as a modular and scalable system in order to achieve a multi-sensorial test environment in later iterations.

Test series: Virtual reality hemispheres with different material textures while simultaneously feeling of an hemisphere in physical reality with differing surface quality. (no audio)

Daniel Hellweg created the test setup based on Unity's game engine software, a VR-headset (Oculus Rift DK2) and leap motion's own hand-tracking software. In the development and integration phase, the main interest was on finding out how far the tactile perception can be deluded by a non-congruent visuality. In the broadest sense, the test was to review the claim that the sense of touch can be fooled by the eye.

Haptics in Virtual Reality test series: Incongruity in perception.

Megatrends like «Industry 4.0» and the «Internet of Things», often associated with high economical hopes, may be the catalysts for the breakthrough of VR as a legitimate mediator between user and objects, first and foremost in learning environments. Children’s VR experiences were researched by the VHIL and the results imply the possibility of an evolution towards a new generation which is fully immersed in virtual experiences. Might the condition of the «suspension of disbelief» cease to exist and will children learn together with AI in virtual environments? How will designers react on such a possible scenario?


Dr. Ralf Michel

, Masterstudio Design

Prof. Dr. Sabine Fischer

, Masterstudio Design