englro

The project proposes the development of a cognitive simulation system for the interaction between human-virtual objects, focusing on obtaining an as natural as possible visual and haptic feedback and also considering the human factor. The applications which are targeted by this simulation engine are (i) virtual prototyping of mechanical systems (mechanisms) directly actuated by the user (for example mechanical control systems within a car), the design and testing of personal use object’s at which the geometric form itself influences the way they are manipulated (glass, shampoo bottles, detergent cans, mouse) and (ii) the development of a new environment for designing in virtual reality.

In these applications the force feedback and the interaction modality play a crucial role in developing of virtual prototypes of the above mentioned products, and when it comes to the evaluation of the forms a personalized and adapted to user requirements, fully immersive virtual environment is decisive. In the present these design and testing procedures are accomplished by the use of complex simulations with engineering software and by testing real prototypes, but the new envisaged interface will permit the user to feel, to see and to interact in a direct and natural way with the concepts of the product in a stereoscopic and fully immersive environment. In this way one will be able to evaluate the comfort at performing some commands, one could detect some unwanted or unpleasant effects (vibrations, instabilities) and one could test a big number of virtual prototypes, in natural conditions, similar to those of the real prototypes.


In order to be able to develop the haptic feedback and the visualization systems one has to understand the sensorial characteristics of the human body and one has to develop a computer controlled system which enables the natural and physical interaction with virtual environments. The realism in the interaction between the user and the virtual environment does not only have to reflect the precision of the calculus, but the realism has also to be mental and visual, and the simulation has to be adapted to the needs of the user. The central questions for which the project searches to respond are: which is the mental image of the simulation, what does the user expect and how can the simulation adapt to the user’s needs?


The major innovation tat will be brought by the present proposal is the combining of the newest technologies and concepts in virtual reality with a simulation program which will track user’s movements (hand, fingers, eyes, head) and from these data will anticipate the force feedback and the modality of the scene display, in such a way that the interaction to be natural. This way there will founded the base for a new generation of man-machine interfaces which are permitting  a multimodal, bidirectional interaction, capable to present the user the information in a natural and immersive 3D environment, in permanent evolution in function of the user’s needs.

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This approach corresponds to the trend of modernization of the computer interfaces in engineering, by replacing the traditional systems based on the mouse and display with new technologies of interactions including 3D immersive visualization systems and force feedback devices. Practically, the conventional computer aided systems (CAX Computer aided X) will evolve into Virtual Reality assisted systems (VRAX Virtual Reality Aided X), which will introduce new paradigms of interaction with computing systems using complex immersive devices, with multimodal interactions (multiple sensorial channels).