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Cooperative Sculpturing in a VR Game

Cooperative Sculpturing in a VR Game
Sample artifact

Recent hand tracking systems have contributed to enhancing user experience in the virtual  environment (VE) due to its natural and intuitive interaction. In addition, wearable  haptic devices are another approach to provide engaging and immersive experiences.  However, controllers are still prevalent in VR games as a main interaction device. Also,  haptic devices are rare and not widely accepted by users because they get bulky to implement  sophisticated haptic sensation. 

Prototype Haptic Device
Prototype Haptic Device

To this end, we proposed the VR Haptic Glove project in which we investigated the effect of interaction method and vibrotactile feedback on user experience in a VR game.We compared the user’s sense of presence, engagement, usability, and task performance under three different conditions: (1) VR controllers, (2) hand tracking without vibrotactile feedback, and (3) hand tracking  with vibrotactile feedback at fingertips through the gloves we developed. The gloves deliver  vibrotactile feedback at fingertips while maximizing the comfort of wearing by using soft  fabrics and minimizing hardware size. We observed that hand tracking enhanced the user’s  sense of presence, engagement, usability, and task performance, compared to traditional  controllers. Further vibrotactile feedback increased the presence and engagement more  clearly. However, based on the participants’ feedback, we can further modify the form factor  to make it more usable in a VR game and comfortable to wear on a regular basis. 

Interaction for gameplay
Interaction for gameplay
Gameplay
Gameplay

In this sense, we developed a new thimble shape device to deliver vibrotactile feedback only  at one fingertip rather than ten fingertips by using the gloves in the previous study. We would  like to propose an experiment that explores the effects of interaction method and fingertip vibrotactile feedback on the user’s sense of presence, social presence, and engagement in a  cooperative VR game. A cooperative game will contain collaborative sculpturing activity in a  VE. During the social interaction, the fingertip vibrotactile feedback will be delivered  through the newly designed device only at one finger to maximize the comfort of wearing but  providing enough vibrotactile cues to the user. We will investigate whether the fingertip  vibrotactile feedback at one finger can make significant difference on the user experience compared to conventional VR controllers or hand tracking which are primary interaction  methods in current VR applications. 

We believe that cooperative sculpturing can amplify the arts by providing an opportunity for  the users to create the artifacts in the VR with a digital format which can be modified, shared,  and entertained in a VE. The experience of collaboration in VE will provide a new  perspective and break the stereotype on sculptures or other type of artworks that considered to be able to be done only in the physical world. Further, we hope that our newly proposed  vibrotactile feedback device can bridge the physical distance between people during the  COVID-19 pandemic. By delivering the vibrotactile cues during the interactions and  gameplay, users will be able to feel the presence of other players which contributes to connecting people and making efficient communication in the VE.