Haptic Feedback Increases Perceived Social Presence

ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction (2010), pp. 178-185, doi: 10.1007/978-3-642-14075-4_26
Experiments
Tasks
Findings

Does haptic feedback increase perceived virtual presence, perceived social presence, and perceived task performance for passing objects between users in a collaborative virtual environment?

Variables

    Haptic Fidelity
  • haptics (on/off) - haptic feedback from the phantom device or none (the device acted solely as a 3d mouse)
System Info

Displays
Input Hardware
  • haptic - two phantom haptic devices

2 displays from Reachin Technologies AB; Stereographics CrystalEyes 3 shutter glasses; single master computer with bifurcated video signal to show each user the same virtual environment.

Participant Info

The participants were students from Stockholm University and Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden and a few administrative staff. Participants were paired up, one female and one male, for the experiment, except for one pair of two males. The mean age of the participants was 29.

Total # Age Range Gender Balance
18 -

Subjects were paired up and located in different rooms. Using their dominant hand, subjects moved their PHANToM device pens to lift a cube off of a shelf and hand it to the other user, who placed it briefly on a second shelf and then passed it back to the first user, who briefly placed it back on the first shelf. This process then alternated back and forth between the users for 60 seconds.

Interaction and Environment

Interface

Subjects moved cubes by touching them with their cursor (moved with the PHANToM device pen) and pressing a button to "grab" the cube. Subjects were not able to communicate verbally with each other during the experiment. Six different cube sizes were used to modify the difficulty of the task in random order. If users grasped the same cube at the same time, they could feel forces from the other user (in the haptic condition)

The environment consisted of a curved wall with four shelves, two containing the different cubes to be used and the other two used as the target shelves for the users passing off the cube. In the haptic condition, all surfaces provided force feedback (friction and stiffness) when intersected by a cursor, and the user could feel gravity and collisions between cubes. Cubes had texture, size, and weight in addition to stiffness.

Dimensionality Scale Density Visual Realism
3D Small Low Low
Metrics

  • presence - 34-question questionnaire for social presence (each question on a likert-style seven-point scale); 30-question variation of witmer and singers presence questionnaire for virtual presence
  • user task perception - 14-question questionnaire (each question on a likert-style seven-point scale)
  1. There was a significant direct effect of haptics (on/off) on presence for a object manipulation task.

    Users reported higher perceived virtual presence in the haptics condition than in the non-haptics condition.

    Specificity: Somewhat general

  2. There was a significant direct effect of haptics (on/off) on presence for a object manipulation task.

    Users reported higher perceived social presence in the haptics condition than in the non-haptics condition.

    Specificity: Somewhat general

  3. There was a significant direct effect of haptics (on/off) on user task perception for a object manipulation task.

    Users reported higher perceived task performance in the haptics condition than in the non-haptics condition.

    Specificity: Somewhat general