TACTILITY, a multidisciplinary innovation and research action entitled “Tactile feedback enriched interaction through virtual reality and beyond”, has the overall aim of including rich and meaningful tactile information into novel interaction systems through technology for closed-loop tactile interaction with virtual environments. By mimicking the characteristics of the natural tactile feedback, it will substantially increase the quality of immersive Virtual Reality (VR) experience used locally or remotely (tele-manipulation).
The approach is based on transcutaneous electro-tactile stimulation delivered through electrical pulses with high resolution spatio-temporal distribution. To achieve it, significant development of technologies for transcutaneous stimulation, textile-based multi-pad electrodes and tactile sensation electronic skin, coupled with ground-breaking research of perception of elicited tactile sensations in VR, is needed.
The key novelty is in the combination of:
- the ground-breaking research of perception of electrotactile stimuli for the identification of the stimulation parameters and methods that evoke natural like tactile sensations,
- the advanced hardware, that will integrate the novel high-resolution electrotactile stimulation system and state of the art artificial electronic skin patches with smart textile technologies and VR control devices in a wearable mobile system, and
- the novel firmware that handles real-time encoding and transmission of tactile information from virtual objects in VR, as well as from the distant tactile sensors (artificial skins) placed on robotic or human hands.
This research and innovation action shall result in a next generation of interactive systems with higher quality experience for both local and remote (e.g., tele-manipulation) applications. Ultimately, TACTILITY will enable high fidelity experience through low-cost, user friendly, wearable and mobile technology.