2018-00707 - Haptic-enabled interaction techniques for Mixed Reality (MR) applications
Le descriptif de l’offre ci-dessous est en Anglais

Niveau de diplôme exigé : Bac + 5 ou équivalent

Fonction : Doctorant

A propos du centre ou de la direction fonctionnelle

The Inria Rennes - Bretagne Atlantique center is one of Inria's eight centers and has more than thirty research teams. The Inria Center is a major and recognized player in the field of digital sciences. It is at the heart of a rich R&D and innovation ecosystem: highly innovative PMEs, large industrial groups, competitiveness clusters, research and higher education players, laboratories of excellence, technological research institute, etc.

Contexte et atouts du poste

This PhD is in the field of Virtual Reality and Haptic Interfaces (i.e., technologies aiming at providing touch and force sensations). Its objective is to study a novel approach for introducing haptic sensations in virtual environments, based on a new generation of haptic technologies involving ultrasonic and/or vibratory stimulation to the user. The ambition of the PhD consists in designing novel rendering algorithms and interaction techniques to better exploit these new haptic technologies. Applications will include gaming, industrial training, teleoperation, rehabilitation, e-commerce.

Mission confiée

Digital content today remains focused on visual and auditory stimulation. Even in the realm of VR and AR, sight and sound remain paramount. In contrast, methods for delivering haptic (sense of touch) feedback in commercial media are significantly less advanced than graphical and auditory feedback. Yet without a sense of touch, experiences ultimately feel hollow, virtual realities feel false, and Human-Computer Interfaces become unintuitive.

To address these limitations, we want to integrate (i) pioneering ultrasonic “non-contact” haptic devices, (ii) state-of-the-art vibrotactile actuators, (iii) novel mathematical and tribological modelling of the skin with (iv) our experience in immersive VR and AR environments.

The result will be a sensory experience where digital 3D shapes and textures are made manifest in real space via modulated, focused, ultrasound, ready for the untethered hand to feel, where next-generation wearable haptic rings provide directional vibrotactile stimulation,  informing users of an object’s dynamics, and where computational renderings of specific materials can be distinguished via their surface properties.

 

(a) Non-contact haptics (ultrasound haptic system). b) Contact haptics (vibrotactile haptic rings).
c- d) The next generation of AR/VR haptics proposed in this project.

 

 

The Ph.D. project will proceed by developing three main key aspects:

  • Interaction techniques for multi-modal contact/non-contact haptics. We will design high-level interaction techniques combining the capabilities of contact (wearable haptic rings) and non-contact (ultrasound systems) haptics in VR/AR environments. We will study solutions addressing the known limitations of the proposed system, e.g., under-actuation, limited range of forces, and potential visual occlusions (in an AR context).
  • 2D surface interaction. We will develop and evaluate VR and AR applications to demonstrate the effectiveness of our haptic system in the rendering of mechanical properties of a virtual surface, e.g., shape, stiffness, texture.
  • 3D object manipulation. We will develop and evaluate VR and AR applications to demonstrate the effectiveness of our haptic system in the rendering of 3-dimensional objects. Specifically, we will exploit the extreme wearability of our haptic system to enable users to physically manipulate real and virtual objects concurrently, for instance while sitting at an augmented desk of real and virtual objects.

The PhD student will be required to develop novel rendering algorithms in VR/AR, design novel interaction techniques, and conduct of several user studies and experiments with human participants. We also plan exchanges and meetings with academic and industrial partners in different European countries, so the student should be ready to travel.

 

Principales activités

Main activities:

  • Design high-level interaction techniques combining the capabilities of contact (wearable haptic rings) and non-contact (ultrasound systems) haptics in VR/AR environments.
  • Develop and evaluate VR and AR applications to demonstrate the effectiveness of our haptic system in the rendering of mechanical properties of a virtual surface, e.g., shape, stiffness, texture.
  • Develop and evaluate VR and AR applications to demonstrate the effectiveness of our haptic system in the rendering of 3-dimensional objects.

Additional activities:

  • Write reports on the activities carried out.
  • Present the results to international conferences and meetings.

Compétences

We are looking for excellent, highly-motivated students interested in Mixed Reality and haptics, with a computer science background and previous experience in computer programming (C++). Experience in using VR/AR tools and systems (e.g., Unity 3D, ARToolkit, Oculus Rift, Hololens) is considered a plus.

Avantages sociaux

  • Subsidised catering service
  • Partially-reimbursed public transport
  • Social security
  • Paid leave
  • Flexible working hours
  • Sports facilities

Rémunération

Monthly gross salary amounting to 1982 euros for the first and second years and 2085 euros for the third year.