Haptic-enhanced presence in VR

Exploring the importance of haptic feedback in virtual environments to achieve presence
Jakob Håkonsson, 2018 Thesis

Through qualitative and exploratory research, this thesis project investigates how body stimulation from haptic feedback affects user’s feeling of presence in VR environments. It identifies that in current time, the development of haptic feedback in VR lags severely behind the advancements made in visual and auditory feedback, and that some companies disregard its importance. Simultaneously, new companies are emerging which focus entirely on haptics in VR. Since development is still an early stage, this thesis highlights now as a unique opportunity to explore the thoughts professionals have on the topic, as well as try to find out which exact haptics are important for feeling presence to serve as a guide to those developing such systems. Finally, to tackle this issue, it is imperative to understand certain theoretical concepts such as affordances and embodiment, and how they change in the world of VR. This understanding can contribute to Interaction Design knowledge.

hakansson fig10
Testers found themselves in a desert environment with a gravel road, a sand bank and an oasis. Wooden planks indicated the edges of the containers placed in the real world

hakansson fig8
A virtual world with objects and a table was created(top). In the real world, the objects were matched in position and size, both with real-life counterparts (middle) and low-fidelity models (bottom)