Simulating Deformable Tools with Haptic Feedback in a Virtual Environment

Stephen Laycock, Andrew Day
University of East Anglia
School of Information Systems
NR4 7TJ Norwich




Keywords: Haptic Feedback, Finite Element Method, Deformable Objects, Interaction, Simulation


Simulations for training and analysis incorporating haptic feedback are becoming more popular and the sophistication of these simulations is increasing. Many systems now allow a range of simulated rigid tools to be used in haptic feedback applications, such as scalpels in surgical simulations. However, very often the rigid property of the simulated tool does not correspond to the flexibility of the tool in the real world. This paper aims to show how deformable tools can be used in conjunction with haptic feedback to improve realistic interactive simulations. The work shows how a finite element model of a beam can be used to simulate a three dimensional deformable rod in a virtual environment. The ability to perform the collision detection, force responses and update the physical model at a suitable haptic rate is a crucial requirement. An approximation to the finite element method is illustrated which allows more time, per frame, to be allocated to the collision detection without noticeably degrading the physical model.