Cooperative Sculpturing in a VR Game
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.
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.
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.