2021-03791 - Post-Doctoral Research Visit F/M Novel interactive techniques for haptics in Augmented and Virtual Reality
Le descriptif de l’offre ci-dessous est en Anglais

Niveau de diplôme exigé : Thèse ou équivalent

Fonction : Post-Doctorant

A propos du centre ou de la direction fonctionnelle

The Inria Rennes - Bretagne Atlantique Centre is one of Inria's eight centres 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 PostDoc position is a joint collaboration between Inria Rennes Bretagne Atlantique (specifically, the RAINBOW and HYBRID team) and the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology (Moscow, Russia). The postdoc researcher will stay mainly in Rennes but he or she is expected to carry out part of the research work at Skoltech.

The RAINBOW and HYBRID teams are renowned for their work in robotics, haptics, and virtual/augmented reality. The Skoltech team led by Dzmitry Tsetserukou is renowned for research in wearable haptics and multi-robot aerial systems. 

The French partners are experts in designing interaction techniques, visuo-haptic rendering algorithms, and immersive human-robot and human-machine interactions. On the other hand, the Russian partner has a long experience in designing wearable and grounded haptic devices comprising different types of hardware principles (e.g., moving tactors, electrotactile).

Candidates pre-selected by the teams will be assessed by the International Relations Department and evaluated by scientific experts. Once the candidate is pre-selected, she or he will be guided through the application process, which needs to be completed by July 10. The funding is granted by Inria International Relations Department.

 

Mission confiée

Haptic feedback is an essential component of the user’s immersive experience when interacting in eXtended Reality (XR) or remote environments. Many ways of simulating haptic sensations in virtual and remote scenarios exist, e.g., using dedicated and actuated devices known as force feedback or tactile interfaces [1, 2], using passive props also known as tangible objects [3, 4, 5], or even exploiting perceptual phenomena with cross-modal effects or sensory substitutions [6]. Every approach has its drawbacks and advantages, but none of them succeeds in reproducing, all-in-one, the complex richness of real haptic exploration, and especially not in a simple, cost-effective, rich, and portable manner. The challenge of developing effective portable haptic interfaces is one of the most researched in the fields of haptics and immersive environments, as being able to provide compelling haptic sensations in a comfortable and easy-to-carry way would pave the way for evolving from currently-available grounded/desktop haptic interactions to ubiquitous/wearable ones. Other promising alternative haptic approaches in which partners have strong background, such as Encountered-Type Haptic Displays (ETHD) which enable free interactions or Pseudo-Haptic Feedback (PH) which enable haptic illusions at low cost, illustrate the wide range of possible haptic solutions that can be introduced in XR environments.

Besides, ubiquitous haptic interfaces enable interaction with a virtual or augmented reality system while freely exploring the environment, unimpaired and unconstrained, e.g., interaction with XR objects while walking around and wearing a head-mounted display. In the same way, ubiquitous haptics enables a human operator to control a robotic system while sharing its environment, e.g., humans exploring unknown terrain while being surrounded by a team of drones. However, all these promising scenarios require a set of interfaces and rendering techniques which are currently unavailable.

Popular techniques to provide rich ubiquitous haptic feedback in the literature are through moving platforms, that can orient and/or translate on the skin [7], pin-arrays, shearing belts and tactors [8, 9], pneumatic jets and  balloon-based systems [2, 10]. These types of devices have already been used in Virtual Reality (including by partners of the associated team [8, 9]) while their application in Augmented Reality or teleoperation is significantly rarer despite their promising features. Moreover, very few provide more than a single type of haptic sensation, severely limiting their rendering capabilities. This is mostly due to the fact that a wide set of expertise is needed to design effective and compelling ubiquitous haptic systems for eXtended Reality (XR): mechanical design, mechatronics, embedded programming, distributed communication, haptic  rendering, ergonomics, immersive interaction techniques.

The objectives of this research work lie in the study and development of an innovative set of perceptually-motivated haptic interfaces for immersive interaction in Virtual and Augmented Reality. 

Study multisensory haptic perception. We need to understand how to provide multiple types of haptic sensations in a natural and effective way as well as how to best combine them with visuo-audio stimuli, which are of course still paramount in any human-machine interaction. To achieve this objective we will carry out principled human subjects studies targeted at analyzing the recognition rate of the haptic information as well as the user’s comfort and overall experience.

Design 3D interaction techniques. We aim to conceive human-computer interaction techniques specifically adapted to novel haptic approaches (i.e., wearable, encouter-type haptic displays). Existing graphical user interfaces (GUIs) are bound to 2D screens, and controlled via conventional inputs (e.g., keyboard). Future haptic-enabled applications will require new UIs and input techniques. We will re-imagine gesture-controlled UIs to exploit fully-immersive environments. We will deliver abstracted interaction techniques for rigorous testing via psychophysical experiments and user studies enhancing the perceived spatio-temporal haptic accuracy.

Implement real-world applications in VR and AR.  We want to show that our haptic framework can improve a very diverse set of haptic interactions between humans and machines. We target a scaleable framework remaining general enough to enable its transfer to different application domains.

 

References

[1] V. Hayward, O. Astley, M. Cruz-Hernandez, D. Grant, and G. Robles-De-La-Torre. Haptic interfaces and devices. Sensor Review, 24(1):16–29, 2004.
[2] C. Pacchierotti, S. Sinclair, M. Solazzi, A. Frisoli, V. Hayward, and D. Prattichizzo. Wearable haptic systems for the fingertip and the hand: taxonomy, review, and perspectives. IEEE Trans. Haptics, 2017.
[3] M. Billinghurst, H. Kato, and I. Poupyrev. The magicbook-moving seamlessly between reality and virtuality. IEEE Computer Graphics and applications, 21(3):6–8, 2001.
[4] A. D. Cheok, X. Yang, Z. Z. Ying, M. Billinghurst, and H. Kato. Touch-space: Mixed reality game space based on ubiquitous, tangible, and social computing. Personal and ubiquitous computing, 6(5-6):430–442, 2002.
[5] B. Insko. Passive haptics significantly enhances virtual environments. PhD thesis, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2001.
[6] A. Lécuyer. Simulating haptic feedback using vision: A survey of research and applications of pseudo-haptic feedback. Presence: Teleoperators and Virtual Environments, 18(1):39–53, 2009.
[7] F. Chinello, C. Pacchierotti, M. Malvezzi, and D. Prattichizzo. A three revolute-revolute-spherical wearable fingertip cutaneous device for stiffness rendering. IEEE Transactions on Haptics, 2017.
[8] C. Pacchierotti, G. Salvietti, I. Hussain, L. Meli, and D. Prattichizzo. The hRing: a wearable haptic device to avoid occlusions in hand tracking. In Proc. IEEE Haptics Symposium, 2016.
[9] A. Girard, M. Marchal, F. Gosselin, A. Chabrier, F. Louveau, A. Lécuyer. Haptip: Displaying haptic shear forces at the fingertips for multi-finger interaction in virtual environments. Frontiers in ICT, 3:6, 2016.
[10] L. He, C. Xu, D. Xu, R. Brill. PneuHaptic: delivering haptic cues with a pneumatic armband. In Proceedings of the 2015 ACM International Symposium on Wearable Computers, pp. 47-48, 2015.

Principales activités

Main activities:

  • Design high-level interaction techniques for wearables and encouter-type haptic devices in VR/AR environments.

  • Develop and evaluate through user studies VR and AR applications to demonstrate the effectiveness of these haptic systems in complex interactions.

 

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 researchers 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

  • Subsidized meals
  • Partial reimbursement of public transport costs
  • Leave: 7 weeks of annual leave + 10 extra days off due to RTT (statutory reduction in working hours) 
  • Professional equipment available (videoconferencing, loan of computer equipment, etc.)
  • Social, cultural and sports events and activities
  • Access to vocational training
  • Social security coverage

Rémunération

Monthly gross salary amounting to 2653 euros.