Dr. Andreas Gerndt
An immersive virtual environment is the ideal platform for the planning and training of on-orbit servicing missions. In such kind of virtual assembly simulation, grasping virtual objects is one of the most common and natural interactions. In this paper, we present a novel, small and lightweight electrotactile feedback device, specifically designed for immersive virtual environments. We conducted a study to assess the feasibility and usability of our interaction device. Results show that electrotactile feedback improved the user’s grasping in our virtual on-orbit servicing scenario. The task completion time was significantly lower and the precision of the user’s interaction was higher.
Weight perception in virtual environments generally can be achieved with haptic devices. However, most of these are hard to integrate in an immersive virtual environment (IVE) due to their technical complexity and the restriction of a user's movement within the IVE. We describe two simple methods using only a wireless light-weight finger-tracking device in combination with a physics simulated hand model to create a feeling of heaviness of virtual objects when interacting with them in an IVE. The first method maps the varying distance between tracked fingers and the thumb to the grasping force required for lifting a virtual object with a given weight. The second method maps the detected intensity of finger pinch during grasping gestures to the lifting force. In an experiment described in this paper we investigated the potential of the proposed methods for the discrimination of heaviness of virtual objects by finding the just noticeable difference (JND) to calculate the Weber fraction. Furthermore, the workload that users experienced using these methods was measured to gain more insight into their usefulness as interaction technique. At a hit ratio of 0.75, the determined Weber fraction using the finger distance based method was 16.25% and using the pinch based method was 15.48%, which corresponds to values found in related work. There was no significant effect of method on the difference threshold measured and the workload experienced, however the user preference was higher for the pinch based method. The results demonstrate the capability of the proposed methods for the perception of heaviness in IVEs and therefore represent a simple alternative to haptics based methods.
With the introduction of complex precomputed scattering tables by Bruneton in 2008, the quality of visualizing atmospheric scattering vastly improved. The presented algorithms allowed for the rendering of complex atmospheric features such as multiple-scattering or light shafts in real-time and at interactive framerates. While their published implementation corresponding to the publication was merely a proof of concept, we present a more practical approach by applying their scattering theory to an already existing planetary rendering engine. Because the commonly used set of parameters only describes the atmosphere of the Earth, we further extend the scattering formulation to visualize the atmosphere of the planet Mars. Validating the modified scattering and resulting parameters is then done by comparison with available imagery from the Martian atmosphere