When Tangibles become Deformable


Studying Pseudo-Stiffness Perceptual Thresholds in a VR Grasping Task

Pseudo-Haptic techniques, or visuo-haptic illusions, leverage user’s visual dominance over haptics to alter the users’ perception. As they create a discrepancy between virtual and physical interactions, these illusions are limited to a perceptual threshold.

Many haptic properties have been studied using pseudo-haptic techniques, such as weight, shape or size. In this paper, we focus on estimating the perceptual thresholds for pseudo-stiffness in a virtual reality grasping task. We conducted a user study (n = 15) where we estimated if compliance can be induced on a non-compressible tangible object and to what extent. Our results show that (1) compliance can be induced in a rigid tangible object and that (2) pseudo-haptics can simulate beyond 24 N/cm stiffness (k >= 24 N/cm, between a gummy bear and a raisin, up to rigid objects).
Pseudo-stiffness efficiency is (3) enhanced by the objects’ scales, but mostly (4) correlated to the user input force.

Taken altogether, our results offer novel opportunities to simplify the design of future haptic interfaces, and extend the haptic properties of passive props in VR.