A 360 degree VR App to enhance user experience by adjusting feel affects

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Scientists at Disney Research have developed a 360-degree VR application that helps users to upgrade their experience by adjusting feel effects – such as, a light sprinkle or a heavy downpour – to complement the visuals and make it more realistic.

“Virtual reality has seen a renaissance in recent years as advancements in computer graphics, computing platforms and the seamless flow of information between hardware and software have come together in a powerful way,” said Ali Israr who is a senior research engineer at Disney Research.

“Our team is working to make VR haptic sensations just as rich as the 360-degree visual media now available,” Israr said further.

The haptic definition app, known as VR360HD, was developed and tested using a consumer headset and Disney Research’s haptic chair.

The chair’s new features include a grid of six vibrotactile actuators in its back and two subwoofers, or “shakers,” in the seat and back.

The grid gives localized moving sensations in the back, while the subwoofers shake two different regions of the body and create a sensation of motion.

Users are enabled to select from a library of feel effects, also assembled and tested by Disney Research – which is a network of research laboratories supporting The Walt Disney Company.

These feel effects are identified with common terms such as rain, pulsing, or rumbling, and can be adjusted so that people can differentiate between, for instance, a light sprinkle and a heavy downpour.

“Current VR systems provide ‘buzz-like’ haptic sensations through hand controllers,” Israr said in the statement.

“But technology exists for much richer sensations. We’ve created a framework that would enable users to select from a wide range of meaningful sensations that can be adjusted to complement the visual scene and to play them through a variety of haptic feedback devices,” Israr said.

The research was presented at the ACM Symposium on Virtual Reality Software and Technology in Munich, Germany.

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Sameeksha Bhardwaj, From ITvoir News Desk

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