iTurk: Turning Passive Haptics into Active Haptics by Making Users Reconfigure Props in Virtual Reality


We present a system that complements virtual reality experiences with passive props, yet still allows modifying the virtual world at runtime. The main contribution of our system is that it does not require any actuators; instead, our system employs the user to reconfigure and actuate otherwise passive props. We demonstrate a foldable prop that users reconfigure to represent a suitcase, fuse cabinet, railing, and a seat. A second prop, suspended from a long pendulum, not only stands in for inanimate objects, but also for objects that move and demonstrate proactive behavior, such as a group of flying droids that physically attack the user. Our approach conveys a sense of a living, animate world, when in reality the user is the only animate entity present in the system, complemented with only one or two physical props. In our study, participants rated their experience as more enjoyable and realistic than a corresponding no-haptics condition.

Proceedings of the 2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems