Sensory Perception & Interaction Research Group

University of British Columbia

Full citation: 
MacLean, K. E. (2000). "Application-Centered Haptic Interface Design." chapter in Human and Machine Haptics, M. Srinivasan and M. Cutkosky, Eds.: MIT Press.
A haptic interface is a particular kind of window through which a user may experience or manipulate something else. The purpose of this section is to explore the value that the touch sense can provide in different contexts, and to offer perspectives and principles for the creation of haptic interaction models for specific applications. We assume the perspective of an interface designer considering haptic feedback as one potential interaction medium. This designer needs first to create an interaction model by which the application can most effectively be perceived and controlled by the intended user, and that model must be submitted to a critical and unbiased task analysis. When (and if) haptic feedback emerges as part of this model, the best morphology and mechanism for the haptic interface device as well as its connection to the rest of the application can be more readily specified and created, using insights into hardware design and psychophysics discussed elsewhere. This is a “top-down” design approach, which begins with a need (to provide an interface to a given application) and aims to discover the solution from a suite of available interface technologies and methods. At the same time, a good understanding of where haptic interaction adds value should help in identifying the applications for which haptic feedback is a good fit – the “bottom-up” approach. Section I examines different aspects of physical interaction in the real world; Section II suggests design principles for haptic interfaces which we hope are just a beginning to an expanding understanding by the field.
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