Stand-alone virtual environments (VEs) using haptic devices have proved useful for assembly/disassembly simulation of mechanical components. Nowadays, collaborative haptic virtual environments (CHVEs) are also emerging. A new peer-to-peer collaborative haptic assembly simulator (CHAS) has been developed whereby two users can simultaneously carry out assembly tasks using haptic devices. Two major challenges have been addressed: virtual scene synchronization (consistency) and the provision of a reliable and effective haptic feedback. A consistency-maintenance scheme has been designed to solve the challenge of achieving consistency. Results show that consistency is guaranteed. Furthermore, a force-smoothing algorithm has been developed which is shown to improve the quality of force feedback under adverse network conditions. A range of laboratory experiments and several real trials between Labein (Spain) and Queen’s University Belfast (Northern Ireland) have verified that CHAS can provide an adequate haptic interaction when both users perform remote assemblies (assembly of one user’s object with an object grasped by the other user). Moreover, when collisions between grasped objects occur (dependent collisions), the haptic feedback usually provides satisfactory haptic perception. Based on a qualitative study, it is shown that the haptic feedback obtained during remote assemblies with dependent collisions can continue to improve the sense of co-presence between users with regard to only visual feedback.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Computational Theory and Mathematics
- Information Systems
- Theoretical Computer Science