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Advances in Human-Computer Interaction
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 740324, 15 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/740324
Research Article

Virtual Sectioning and Haptic Exploration of Volumetric Shapes in the Absence of Visual Feedback

School of Information Sciences, University of Tampere, Kanslerinrinne 1, PINNI B, 33014 Tampere, Finland

Received 20 March 2013; Revised 27 May 2013; Accepted 3 June 2013

Academic Editor: Kerstin S. Eklundh

Copyright © 2013 Tatiana V. Evreinova et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

The reduced behavior for exploration of volumetric data based on the virtual sectioning concept was compared with the free scanning at the use of the StickGrip linkage-free haptic device. Profiles of the virtual surface were simulated through the penholder displacements in relation to the pen tip of the stylus. One or two geometric shapes (cylinder, trapezoidal prism, ball, and torus) or their halves and the ripple surface were explored in the absence of visual feedback. In the free scanning, the person physically moved the stylus. In the parallel scanning, cross-sectional profiles were generated automatically starting from the location indicated by the stylus. Analysis of the performance of 18 subjects demonstrated that the new haptic visualization and exploration technique allowed to create accurate mental images, to recognize and identify virtual shapes. The mean number of errors was about 2.5% in the free scanning mode and 1.9% and 1.5% in the parallel scanning mode at the playback velocity of 28 mm/s and 42 mm/s, respectively. All participants agreed that the haptic visualization of the 3D virtual surface presented as the cross-sectional slices of the workspace was robust and easy to use. The method was developed for visualization of spatially distributed data collected by sensors.