real 3D touch and feel in virtual reality

The Challenge

Haptic VR? Imagine 3D modelling digitally in a VR space, not only seeing your model with VR’s 3D vision but also being able to touch and feel the substance of your model, it’s hardness/softness, its 3D form and surface quality.

We’re delighted to be kicking off 2022 by being one of six new Challenge Projects, supported and funded by Creative Informatics. We are all creative and cultural organisations based across Edinburgh and South East Scotland!

Individuals and SMEs that have the skills to provide data-driven solutions to our challenge are invited to respond to this Challenge Project. Funding of up to £20,000 is available to the successful Challenge Respondent who will retain all or part of the intellectual property for their work, enabling them to commercialise any products or services they produce.

If you are interested in applying, please carry on reading the information below and come along to Challenge Holder Q&A 2, taking place online on Tuesday 25th January at 10.00am. Ann Marie Shillito, co-founder and CEO of Anarkik3D, will answer your questions. There is more information here at Creative Informatics.

Applications are open now and close on Friday 11th February at 5pm.

Image showing a Falcon Haptic device and VR headset: imagine 3D modelling in VR, seeing objects in 3D AND touching & feeling their hardness/softness, 3D form & surface quality.

Anarkik3D’s haptic Cloud9 3D modelling software with the Falcon haptic device was technically ready for porting to Oculus Rift DK2 VR tech

Information about Anarkik3D’s Project and haptic VR

Anarkik3D is finally able to explore the potential of VR to enhance their haptic 3D modelling programme. The challenge is to combine haptic Anarkik3DDesign software with VR technology and create an interface that provides users with the more immersive experience that haptics/touch, as grounded force feedback technology, and stereo 3D vision together can give.

Anarkik3DDesign is 3D modelling software (Cloud9) with virtual touch. It uses off-the-shelf haptic hardware (Novint’s Falcon device) to make the product affordable. The device delivers both a real sense of touching digital objects via grounded ‘force feedback’ haptics (distinctly NOT vibrotactile tickle) as well as providing three degrees of movement. This sense of touch and 3D movement taps into our real-world expertise and tacit knowledge, making Anarkik3DDesign easy and a joy to learn and use.

Anarkik3DDesign is designed and developed for and mainly used by applied artists and designer makers, providing them with an accessible, affordable ‘semi-immersive’ three dimensional environment in which to work creatively and with ‘flow’, to explore and develop ideas in a risk-free digital format that requires no physical materials. Taking this format into VR will further enhance the experience with a very fluid way of working.

Image shows a class of teachers in a workshop in Belfast in 2019, being introduced to the joy of haptic 3D modelling using Anarkik3DDesign programme. Next stage is haptic VR.

Anarkik3D Workshop, Belfast, 2019

Finding a solution to this challenge enables Anarkik3D to offer an affordable haptic VR product that could be used by artists, designers and makers who do not have access to or resources to purchase some of the current high cost haptic VR offerings.

This would be a significant step forward for the company, enabling us to demonstrate the advantages of using grounded haptics in VR and opening up the potential for new business partnerships and collaborations within the creative, education and training sectors.

Image shows a callegraphic design created in GravitySketchVR, exploring the advantages of developing ideas and designs in this media. Imagine haptic VR!

Exploring the advantages of developing ideas and designs in GravitySketchVR

Technical Information: haptic VR

The Falcon haptic device provides haptic interaction via its handle, which as the end effector on its three robust arms, controls the cursor. The force feedback is generated physically to simulate ‘touching and feeling’ the material properties given to virtual objects: solidity and form, hardness, softness and smoothness.

There are major haptic developments, (e.g. haptic gloves) and we welcome investigating alternative solutions, provided the end result remains affordable for users.

Anarkik3D holds all digital data as source code for their haptic 3D modelling software, including the driver for Novint’s Falcon haptic device, coded into the Cloud9 software. Our haptic development platform, AFrame, was upgraded in 2017 when Cloud9 was technically ready for porting to Oculus Rift DK2 VR tech (now obsolete although the Rift is still potentially compatible with AFrame).

As one of four Touchable Universe (TU) directors, a haptics company formed in 2017, Ann Marie Shillito has access to TU’s ‘Wilderspin’ platform which is VR-proven, based on older unsupported drivers and hardware (OSVR and Oculus Rift DK2). The drivers need to be refreshed to work with modern hardware, which is the same for Cloud 9.

Cloud9 uses open source OGRE Graphics engine which now has VR capability (OGRE3D rendering engine – useful for developing a user interface). Ogre has an OSVR plugin which works in Wilderspin.

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