Commercialization of Vibrotactile Feedback for Telemanipulators and Virtual Environments

Period of Performance: 06/23/1998 - 06/23/2000


Phase 2 STTR

Recipient Firm

Immersion Corp.
801 Fox Lane
San Jose, CA 95131
Principal Investigator
Firm POC

Research Institution

Harvard University
9 Oxford St
Cambridge, MA 02138
Institution POC

Research Topics


Recent research at Harvard University showed that vibrotactile feedback powerfully enhanced touch perception for telemanipulators and virtual environment applications with minimal design complexity and cost. Current commercially available human interfaces do no provide adequate vibrotactile feedback. During the STTR Phase II project, Harvard and Immersion demonstrated successfully the feasibility of vibrotactile feedback systems for both applications. In Phase II, Harvard and Immersion will develop commercial prototype vibrotactile display systems for both the under water tele-operation and virtual environments. The robust vibration sensor technology developed during Phase I will be packaged for deep sea use. Three series of design iterations and field tests will improve systems design and performances by allowing users, including the Navy, to evaluate the system during these iterations. In addition, a comprehensive vibrotactile feedback system to enhance computer interface products for applications such as entertainment, office, computer-aided design, and medical training, will be developed for virtual environments. Designs will evaluate the use of digital signal processors and microcontrollers for consumer product vibration synthesis. The Phase II proposal will provide the Navy and industry with field tested and proven vibrotactile system design ready for commercial development.