Wireality: Enabling Complex Tangible Geometries in Virtual Reality

Today's virtual reality (VR) systems allow users to explore immersive new worlds and experiences through sight. Unfortunately, most VR systems lack haptic feedback - the best consumer systems use vibration motors. This clearly precludes realistic physical interactions with virtual objects. Larger obstacles, such as walls, railings, and furniture are not simulated at all. In response, we developed Wireality, a worn system that allows for individual joints on the hands to be accurately arrested in 3D space through the use of programmatically-locked retracting wires. Our system enables tangible interactions with complex geometries, such as touching non-perpendicular, flat, and curved surfaces, wrapping fingers around railings and poles, and touching irregular objects. Our approach is lightweight, low-cost, and low-power, criteria important for future, worn consumer uses. In our studies, we further show that our system is fastacting, spatially-accurate, high-strength, comfortable, and immersive.

CHI 2020 Best Paper Award

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Cathy Fang, Yang Zhang, Matthew Dworman, and Chris Harrison. 2020. Wireality: Enabling Complex Tangible Geometries in Virtual Reality with Worn Multi-String Haptics. In Proceedings of the 2020 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI ’20). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, 1–10. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1145/3313831.3376470

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