Our interaction with computers and the digital world does not need to be limited to keyboards, mice, and other passive touch surfaces. In certain fields, haptics have already been used to create a more natural interaction by adding force and tactile feedback.
Graphic designers have used force feedback-enhanced 3D mice to sculpt organic shapes out of simulated clay; and surgical residents have begun using state-of-the-art haptically-enabled medical robots to feel palpatation and cutting of simulated body tissues so that they can practice the procedure long before ever operating on a living person.
These high-end devices, however, remain out of reach and impractical for inquisitive minds due to prohibitively high cost and stifling protection of proprietary technology.
This project seeks to democratize haptic technologies via open-source hardware and software solutions and through the fostering of an online user community interested in haptics at large. I’m passionate about the sharing of knowledge and have built a few haptic devices that are both cheap to construct and can provide some reasonably complex haptic force-feedback.
The device is called the Haplet because of it’s original motivation of being used atop a surface tablet (a la the haptic tablet!).
3 Degree of Freedom Device
2 Degree of Freedom Device
I was able to get my initial prototype working using Tania Morimoto and Allison Okamura’ Hapkit (which is as corny but more clever than the Haplet) out of Stanford. They have a device they call the Haptic paddle which uses their Hapkit as a control board. I can’t say I ever actually built the Haptic paddle but I used a micro DC motor with a magnetic encoder instead to measure the angular displacements.
I was able to step through the course that Stanford posted online which was really useful for me and I would highly recommend it.