Haptics is about being able to ‘touch’ and ‘feel’ a virtual object, such as a 3D model on your computer. The technology has been around longer than you’d think, but it is now affordable for designer makers. Research has shown that using a haptic device allows designer makers and artists to work more naturally and ‘feel’ their creations. This builds on the skills artists already have from sculpting physical materials.
Anarkik3D Design uses the Falcon haptic device. This is a ‘3D mouse’ that provides 3D touch and feel, an interactive resistance known as ‘force feedback’. When you move your cursor to interact with a virtual object, motors in the device turn on and are updated approximately 1000 times a second. This means that when you mould a virtual object you can feel the surface resist slightly, just as you would with a material item.
This force feedback enables artists and designers to explore a virtual object – its surface texture, edges, depth, elasticity and three-dimensional form. As the device allows artists to move in three dimensions, the user can move the cursor to feel the back and sides of the object whilst viewing the front. This is a much more natural way of working than many other CAD packages. Even after a long break, the Anarkik3D Design system is easy to pick up again.
We chose to work with the Falcon haptic device as it is affordable, robust and widely available, which makes it ideal for creative communities and schools. It can also be used for gaming, although you probably shouldn’t tell your family that if you want to keep it.
The Falcon is essential for using Anarkik3D Design software and can be purchased separately from HapticsHouse. HapticsHouse ship from the USA but you could also look for a local distributor if you wish.