The SenStylus: a novel rumble-feedback pen device for CAD application in Virtual Reality

Fiorentino M., Monno G., Uva A.E.

We have developed a pen device for CAD applications in virtual reality which provides novel features compared to existing systems. The SenStylus consists of a wireless pen designed to be ergonomically handled by the user for spatial interaction using a six degree of freedom optical tracking. In addition to the classic digital button(s) input, it provides analog multi-axial control, and a dual-rumble feedback output. We have integrated the device into an existing virtual reality CAD environment and extended the application functionalities with new device-specific features. The SenStylus vibration feedback improves perception in the virtual world by controlling frequency, amplitude, and duration of the feedback, simulating a variety of responses during collisions and selection tasks. This capability enforces the visual depth sensitivity, which is critical when working with complex CAD models. The multi-axial analog input provides a natural interaction paradigm to the user, thus simulating pen pressure and angle as in real world sketching and in real clay modeling. Dynamic tool-tip dimensioning and shaping are implemented as extra features. We present some applications to prove the added value of the SenStylus. The evaluation of the device received positive feedback by designers and engineers alike. The new features offered by this device can easily be extended to other VR applications using the API provided.