Contributions to the design of novel hand-based interaction techniques for virtual environments

Abstract : Directly using our hands to explore virtual environments and interact with their contents produces a natural and compelling interaction. In this thesis, we propose contributions to improve hand-based interaction in the context of Virtual Reality by considering two main challenges: (1) improving the control of articulated hand models, and (2) providing haptic sensations with accessible techniques. We first address the challenge of interacting through realistic, articulated virtual hands and propose two methods for easing their control. As a first step, we reduce the degrees of freedom of complex hand models in order to make multi-finger interaction possible with common multi-touch interfaces. The resulting system allows users to control a virtual hand by performing gestures over a tactile tablet. Then, we take another approach and separate the degrees of freedom of one virtual hand between two haptic interfaces handled in parallel. Through this distribution of controls and feedback, users are exposed to a variety of haptic effects, otherwise restricted to complex haptic workstations. We then address the challenge of providing haptic sensations during hand-based interaction. To do so, we introduce different techniques that combine passive haptic feedback and pseudo-haptics as an alternative to complex and cumbersome active interfaces. We consider various types of interaction at different scales, starting with coarse interaction with the arm through an elastic armature that provides an egocentric and mobile haptic feedback. We then focus on object grasping and manipulation and propose an interaction paradigm that relies on elastic input devices for reproducing grasping gestures and perceiving modulable haptic properties through crossmodal feedback. Finally, we consider fine multi-finger manipulation and we propose a passive exoskeleton that constrains the digits individually, associated to a multi-finger pseudo-haptic feedback for simulating complex interaction with heterogeneous materials.
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Merwan Achibet. Contributions to the design of novel hand-based interaction techniques for virtual environments. Graphics [cs.GR]. INSA de Rennes, 2015. English. ⟨NNT : 2015ISAR0031⟩. ⟨tel-01312186⟩

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