Robotic Assembly of Haptic Proxy Objects for Tangible Interaction and Virtual Reality

Yiwei Zhao, Lawrence H. Kim, Ye Wang, Mathieu Le Goc, Sean Follmer

Passive haptic proxy objects allow for rich tangible interaction, and this is especially true in VR applications. However, this requires users to have many physical objects at hand. Our paper proposes robotic assembly at run-time of low-resolution haptic proxies for tangible interaction and virtual reality. These assembled physical proxy objects are composed of magnetically attached blocks which are assembled by a small multi robot system, specifically Zooids. We explore the design of the basic building blocks and illustrate two approaches to assembling physical proxies: using multirobot systems to (1) self-assemble into structures and (2) assemble 2.5D structure with passive blocks of various heights. The success rate and completion time are evaluated for both approaches. Finally, we demonstrate the potential of assembled proxy objects for tangible interaction and virtual reality through a set of demonstration.

From left to right, a haptic proxy plane assembled by hand to demonstrate a potential complex shape; a square assembled using nine active blocks; two layers assemblies using active blocks; assembly of passive blocks of various shapes; user manipulating a haptic proxy object in a virtual reality application.

a) An active block consists of a shell containing a Zooid and magnets distributed around its surface to connect with other blocks. b) The ramp is actuated by two Zooids and allows active blocks to climb on top of each other. c) Passive blocks come in various shapes to allow to create more diverse assemblies.

Assembled haptic proxy objects allow user to physically manipulate and interact with various virtual objects.

Moving the assembled proxy switch allows to control the intensity of the light in the virtual world.