The Haptic Cow
We intend to build a physical model of a cow’s reproductive and digestive tracts that will allow for a haptic pairing to go along with the Virtual Cow that is being created and funded as part of a separate grant. This haptic model will combine a real-time-tracked representation of the cow’s internal organs that will provide far more valuable feedback to students and instructors that physical models or the virtual model would provide alone.
The project will require the creation of a custom glove containing flex sensors to detect finger articulation and slim-line, custom IR sensors that can track the arm and organs as they move and transfer that information into existing VR platforms, such as Steam VR. That data must be linked with the virtual model of the cow so that a one-to-one parity exists, meaning that when a student shifts an organ inside the model, they see the same shifting taking place in the virtual representation presented by the VR headset.
The project will also require the creation of a casing for the physical model and molded organs that have been either 3D printed or created using 3D printed molds. This approach will allow for both quick iteration of the models and also lower the cost of the device overall, which is one of the goals.
With the addition of student workers and materials provided by this SEAD grant, we will utilize existing resources and expertise housed in the University Libraries and the College of Vet Med to produce a prototype that will either lead to further grant funding to refine the design or directly to a patent that will be used to fund maintenance and support for the project as a whole.