ぶるなび 3 | Buru-Navi 3

Concept and Principle

Natural communication by haptic interaction

We humans rely not only on visual and auditory information but also on haptic interactions, especially in intimate human communication. Recent technologies have led to the development of amazing handheld devices for visual and auditory communication, but most mobile haptic devices seem to be limited to producing simple vibrations for alerts and attention. To realize rich haptic communication with mobile devices, we may need to overcome the limitations of “physics” by deeply investigating human sensation and perception.

Illusions: a peep into human sensory perception

Information from the external world comes into the brain through various sensory organs, but detected sensory signals do not directly represent the external world. Various signals, each carrying “a piece of an external event”, are selected and integrated in the brain to form coherent representations of external events in our perception. Interestingly, because of the nature of sensory detection and processing in the brain, an external event is sometimes misrepresented in our perception, which is called an illusion. Illusions therefore provide important cues for understanding the mechanisms of human sensation and perception.

Asymmetric oscillation producing being-pulled sensation

Buru-Navi exploits the nonlinearity of human haptic perception to induce force sensation. When a small mass in the Buru-Navi device oscillates along a single axis with asymmetric acceleration, a person holding this device typically experiences a kinesthetic illusion characterized by the sensation of being continuously pulled (or pushed) by the device. Although temporal averages of the two opposing forces (a strong and short force in one direction and a weak and long one in the other direction) applied alternately are the same, the holder feels an illusory sensation of being pulled in one direction.

Innovative gadget inspired by brain science

In addition to such human perception characteristics revealed in our research group, we have found that a key point for miniaturizing a haptic gadget, as we’ve done with Buru-Navi 3, is the stimulus optimization for human tactile sensation. Down-sizing a mobile haptic device is not easy because the physical intensity of the vibration decreases with decreasing device size. To overcome this problem, we have focused on the finger tips, under which tactile receptors are densely distributed. With the highly sensitive capacity of receiving rich information from these receptors, the brain can capture the details of tactile interactions with a weak stimulus. Additionally, by carefully designing the pattern of vibration for the tangential motion sensation, we have succeeded in producing a strong sensation of being pulled.

For tugging at your hand and heartstrings

Tactile interactions by means of touching, patting, stroking, pulling, pushing, hitting, and guiding frequently appear in fundamental and intimate relationships in humans and in animals. We therefore believe that tactile sensation is closely connected to emotional and deep communication. We will continue to develop new ‘force display gadgets’ that can strongly tug at your hand and your heartstrings for future telecommunication.

Application

Demo application

History

2004.1 Project kickoff
2006.8 Demo at SIGGRAPH E-tech
2007.1 Released Buru-Navi 1
2007.2 Demo at NTT R&D Forum 2007 (Buru-Navi)
2007.4 Laval Virtual GrandPrix du Jury
2008.2 Demo at NTT R&D Forum 2008 (Buru-Navi on a turntable)
2008.4 Collaborative project with Kyoto City Fire department: Guiding people with visual impairments in emergency situations Promotion Program for Fire and Disaster Prevention Technologies, Fire and Disaster Management Agency, Japan
2008.6 Demo at CS Labs Open house (Buru-Navi2)
2009.3 Released Buru-Navi 2
2009.6 Demo at CS Labs Open house 2009 (Buru-Navi 2 for Blind people)
2010.2 Demo at NTT R&D Forum 2010 (Buru-Navi 2 for Blind people)
2011.6 Demo at CS Labs Open house 2011 (Pedestrian navigation by Buru-Navi 2.1 and MoCap)
2014.1 Released Buru-Navi 3
2014.2 Demo at NTT R&D Forum 2014 (Buru-Navi 3.1 & 3.2, Pedestrian navigation by Buru-Navi 2.1 and AR-marker)
2014.6 Demo at CS Labs Open house 2014 (Buru-Navi 3.1 & 3.2, Virtual fishing, Virtual dog-walking)
2014.6 Best demonstration award, Eurohaptics 2014 (Buru-Navi 3.1 & 3.2, Virtual fishing )
2014.8 Demo at SIGGRAPH E-tech (Buru-Navi 3.1 & 3.2, Virtual fishing, Virtual dog-walking, Pedestrian navigation)
2014.10 Selected as Innovative Technologies 2014 by Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.
2014.11 Buru-Navi3 Ideathon at NTTdocomo ventures
2014.11 Geo spatial EXPO The 3rd Ichi-mono Gadget & Appli Best Prize (Gadget section)

Media

MIT Technology Review (2014/7/21) - Could "Force Illusions" Help Wearables Catch On?
AIP Publishing (2014/7/22) - News Picks: New handheld devices provide haptic feedback
Mashable (2014/7/22) - Haptic Feedback Could Give Wearables a Push (or Pull)
ACM TechNews (2014/7/23) - Could 'Force Illusions' Help Wearables Catch On?
EE Times India (2014/7/23) - Force illusions seen to drive wearables adoption
Wearable.ai (2014/7/23) - Wearables Could Benefit From Haptic Feedback
Wearable.co.uk (2014/7/24) - Wearables of the future could push us around
Wearable Tech World (2014/7/24) - Force Illusions Offer a New Means to Interact With Wearables
ETCentric (2014/7/25) - SIGGRAPH: Haptic Interfaces to Pull and Push Wearable Users
Eye on the Future (2014/7/25) - Japanese Researchers Demonstrate "Force Illusions"

Members

Hiroaki Gomi / Tomohiro Amemiya / Norihiro Ban / Sho Ito / Shinya Takamuku