Prof. Dr. Patrick Baudisch


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

Redirection techniques in VR such as redirected walking allow users to experience the same passive prop repeatedly. iTurk achieves a richer experience by adding users' reconfiguration and actuation in the loop, making iTurk an application of the concept of human actuation.

Human actuation is the idea of using people to provide large-scale force feedback to users. We have shown that our human actuation systems (Haptic Turk, TurkDeck, and Mutual Turk ) provide more immersive experence using more than one user. iTurk, on the other hand, requires no additonal user but the user him/herself.

The main idea behind iTurk is for each scene, the reconfiguration step creates the physical pre-conditions for the following scene. As a result, iTurk conveys a sense of a sequence of living, animate virtual environments, while in reality the user is the only animate entitypresent in the system.

In our demo experience, iTurk uses only two passive props, a pendulum and a foldable board tocreate a 15-min immersive experience with various interactive virtual objects

Reconfigure-Use-Remap Cycles

The user has to reconfigure the suitcase, so that he can use it to reach higher and progress to the next room. Once he gets to the next room, the fuse box then is right on the place, which in reality is the same board. And this reconfigure-use-remap cycle continues. The foldable board thus can stand for a suitcase, a fuse box, a angular railing and a chair.

The pendulum can stands for various virtual objects as well e.g. a lamp, a fusion core, a droid, and a command module which for the user to catch.

More about the pendulum

The spherical pendulum is designed to obfuscate the fact that it is the same ball each time. The spherical pendulum returns to the user in a way that is hard for humans to predict because 

  1. small variations in hitting angle lead to large variations in trajectory
  2. there is a hard-to-predict time delay

In addition that users can touch the prop only when it is in close proximity, experience designers can map each instance of the pendulum arriving as a different object. 


Cheng, L., Chang, L.Marwecki, S., and Baudisch, P.
iTurk: Turning Passive Haptics into Active Haptics by Making Users Reconfigure Props in Virtual Reality
In Proceedings of CHI'18.