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The image below shows a work session with the new GRAB system. The user inserts two fingers (the thumb and index or both indexes) in the thimbles of the Haptic interface and moves them along the virtual workspace, being able of interacting with the objects visualised on the screen, listen audio helps and execute “verbal commands”. In addition to the virtual objects, the points that represent the positions of the user's fingers are visualised at each moment.
HAVE (Haptic Audio Visual Environment)
The new HAVE is based on the integration of three tools:
A new two-finger 3D force-feedback Haptic Interface
A commercial tool, ViaVoice (IBM) to provide speech recognition and voice synthesis
A new Haptic Geometric Modeller to allow the interaction with any 3D virtual object through haptic stimuli, sounds aids and speech recognition.
GRAB Haptic Interface
A new high fidelity, two-finger, 3D force-feedback Haptic Interface, developed by PERCRO, capable of replicating independent force vectors from the simultaneous contact with two fingers (the thumb and the index or both index fingers). It consists of two co-ordinated arms, each with six degrees of freedom, covering a large portion of the desktop (600mm wide, 400mm height, and 400mm depth).
ViaVoice
IBM ViaVoice Software allows you to incorporate high-quality functionality into the applications that incorporate speech synthesis (synthesise textual representation of human-language into speech) and speech recognition (recognise spoken human speech). It supports speech recognition in Spanish and English languages.
Haptic Geometric Modeller (HGM)
The new HGM is a C++ object-oriented toolkit with all the algorithms that allow the user to interact with any 3D virtual object providing: the haptic stimuli to be rendered by the new haptic interface and sound aids and speech recognition capabilities to improve the interaction.
The new HGM is based on DATum: an object oriented variational non-manifold geometric modeller developed previously by LABEIN, with STEP translator compliant with ISO 10303-AP203 (International Standard for the representation and exchange of product data between CAD systems).
Its main role is to analyse the position of the User´s fingers (provided by the Haptic interface) taking into account the action required by the user (for example to make zoom or to get a specific help audio) in order to get the corresponding audio messages and calculate the values of the forces to be replicated by the haptic interface on the User´s fingers.
The functionality of this toolkit facilitates the development of new applications in multiple sectors for potential customers: automotive/aeronautic (simulation of mechanical assemblies), medicine (training, rehabilitation), art (sculpting tools, virtual museums), etc.
The haptic modeller may also be used in conjunction with or separate from the GRAB haptic interface The project has defined and implemented an API (Application Protocol Interface) in order to integrate the new software (haptic geometric modeller) with different haptic interfaces. It means, the software does not depend on the haptic interface that is being used. In this way, the utilities of the GRAB system may be used with other Haptic interfaces like PHANToM.