Haptic Communication in Collaborative Virtual Environments

Abstract : Objective: To understand the interaction between haptic and verbal communication, this project quantified the relative effect of verbal, haptic, and haptic+verbal feedback in a collaborative virtual pointing task. Background: Collaborative Virtual Environments (CVEs) provide a medium for interaction among remote participants. Better understanding of the role of haptic feedback as a supplement to verbalization can improve the design of CVEs. Methods: Thirty-six participants were randomly paired into 18 dyads to complete a 2D pointing task in a CVE. In a mixed experimental design, participants completed the task in three communication conditions: haptic only (H), verbal only (V), and haptic+verbal (HV). The order of the conditions presented to the participants was counter-balanced. Results: The time to task completion, path length, overshoot, and RMSE were analyzed. Overall, performance in the V and HV conditions were significantly better than in the H condition. Haptics only was the least efficient communication channel, but elicited response with the shortest reaction time. When verbalization was not available, the use of the haptic device was more likely to be exaggerated to ensure information transmission. When verbalization was used, participants converged on the use of Cartesian coordinate system for communicating spatial information. Conclusion: Haptic communication can be used to complete a collaborative virtual task, but is less efficient than verbal communication. A training period may help to improve the efficiency of haptic communication. Application: These results can be used to design remote collaboration tasks incorporating haptic components, and for improving the design of CVEs that support haptic communication.
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Jinling Wang, Amine Chellali, Caroline G. L. Cao. Haptic Communication in Collaborative Virtual Environments. Human Factors, SAGE Publications, 2016, 58 (3), pp.496--508. ⟨10.1177/0018720815618808⟩. ⟨hal-01223967⟩

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