Building force-feedback devices


Band Saw force-feedback prototype , by Emanuel Tomozei

With the release of the Vive trackers, I decided to start prototyping some ideas for haptic and force feedback hardware to be used in conjunction with the InductVR app.

Besides their smaller, more versatile form factor, the vive trackers allow for some basic input/output functionality meaning they can be used for wireless communication between any sensors, arduino, or pi controllers and your main VR application.

By shorting the ground pin (2) with any of the other pins (I used 4 here) on the vive tracker you can emulate the usual controller trigger/grip/menu functions.


After this initial test, it was time to start building something a little more interesting

Virtual Telepresence

More information on this project and how to recreate can be found in this document.

This was a case study I did for a remotely operated robot arm. The arm was 3D printed and actuated by 2 small servos controlled by an arduino. The live link  with the VR controller was done using Unity.  More information on this project and how to recreate can be found in this document.  I am currently working on a bigger version of this project which I hope to use to simulate haptic feedback and to experiment with teleoperation.



Another recent experiment I did was related to body orientation in Virtual Reality. I wanted to see what it would feel like to reorient my virtual body and walk upwards at 90 degree angle.

I knew from experience that if I were to just rotate the virtual environment 90 degrees, this will only give the sensation that the world is moving,  but not my body. So I added a visual representation of feet (using 3d tracked boots) and came up with the construction below to give some feeling of movement.

The mapping of the movement was done using a petentiometer and an arduino:

(special thanks to Jorge for the idea 🙂 )

I set up the virtual experience in 3 stages. First was the identification with the virtual feet which was produced by 1 to 1 visual and tactile feedback. Participants would see their feet and be able to feel the edges of the virtual cliff. The tactile feedback accentuated the vertigo effect which in turn produced more identification with the seen virtual feet.

The next stage was visual identification. In the virtual environment there was a large mirror that gradually got bigger and closer to the participant and shifted orientation when people were nearing the edge of the cliff.

And last stage was the actual physical movement that was reflected with the shift of the virtual world. Once the participant got to the edge of the cliff and experienced the shifting of the world with their movement, when they turned around the world flipped 90 degrees and they would walk upwards on the cliff at a 90 degree orientation.




DeFabriek, Eindhoven  22/04/2017 –  Emanuel Tomozei