The project “HAPtic sensing of virtual TEXtiles” (HAPTEX” is a research on multimodal perception of textiles in the virtual environment. The project funded under the Sixth Framework Programme (FP6” of the European Union (Contract No. IST-6549”.
HAPTEX proposes to develop new avenues for research on multimodal interaction that enable a person to perceive, touch and manipulate textiles. In order to integrate the visual and haptic/tactile interfaces, there are several significant advances in existing technology which are necessary to achieve the complete virtual experience of a physical object.
The main research issues are:
1.Design and development of a multi-sensory environment
2.Simulation of sensory feedback: Development of physics based techniques to model the behaviour of textile
3.Visualisation of the environment: Development of a visual model for realistic textile rendering
4.Synchronisation of multi-sensory signals: Integration of multiple sensory feedback (haptic and tactile” to create a consistent and physically realistic experience
5.Integration of the different components through an efficient framework
Each of these individual problems is very challenging and will lead to the development of novel techniques in the respective areas. HAPTEX provides a platform for experts in these individual areas to work in conjunction with each other to reach a common goal of generating a realistic, efficient multimodal experience. We expect HAPTEX to investigate how far it is possible to provide a user with a completely reliable sense of fabric through a virtual experience. The project has many applications for the textile industry, but the main impact will be the significant advancement of multimodal interaction tools, techniques and know-how.
Within the HAPTEX project, MIRALab acts as the coordinator. It supervises the joint efforts of the partners to ensure the smooth progress of the project according to the work plan, the fulfilment of the consortium’s contractual obligations and the provision of the necessary liaisons between the consortium and European Commission. Moreover, MIRALab has a significant role as Work package leader, being its tasks to analyse the system requirements and design its specifications, as well as to provide the 3D Visualisation.
• Requirements analysis and system specification
MIRALab provides the functionalities of the overall multimodal system and its architecture in terms of computing nodes, software modules, their allocation on the computing nodes and the data exchanged among the modules.
• 3D Visualisation
MIRALab is developing a simulation model efficient enough so that it can be used within the multimodal context of HAPTEX. This task is separated into several subtasks: the physical simulation of the garment has to perform at very high frame rates in order to feed the haptic/tactile devices, while the rendering algorithms can be run at a lower frame rate (typically 30 Hz” because it doesn’t interact with the other ways of interaction. Also, a fine collision response model is developed in order to reproduce microscopic artefacts of fabrics.
MIRALab, University of Geneva
PERCRO Laboratory – Scuola Superiore di Studi Universitari e di Perfezionamento Sant’Anna
SWL – SmartWearLab, Tampere University of Technology
UHAN – WelfenLab, University of Hanover
UNEXE – Biomedical Physics Group, University of Exeter