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Triggermuscle: Exploring Weight Perception for Virtual Reality Through Adaptive Trigger Resistance in a Haptic VR Controller

2022-01-14 , Stellmacher, Carolin , Bonfert, Michael , Kruijf, Ernst , Schöning, Johannes

It is challenging to provide users with a haptic weight sensation of virtual objects in VR since current consumer VR controllers and software-based approaches such as pseudo- haptics cannot render appropriate haptic stimuli. To overcome these limitations, we developed a haptic VR controller named Triggermuscle that adjusts its trigger resistance according to the weight of a virtual object. Therefore, users need to adapt their index finger force to grab objects of different virtual weights. Dynamic and continuous adjustment is enabled by a spring mechanism inside the casing of an HTC Vive controller. In two user studies, we explored the effect on weight perception and found large differences between participants for sensing change in trigger resistance and thus for discriminating virtual weights. The variations were easily distinguished and associated with weight by some participants while others did not notice them at all. We discuss possible limitations, confounding factors, how to overcome them in future research and the pros and cons of this novel technology.