For our Virtual Spinal Tap project, we worked closely with a Waterloo-based company, Handshake VR Inc.
Their proSENSE haptic toolkit enabled much of the functionality behind our dual-control haptic devices. As you may be able to see from the brochure, the company was pleased with our model and used it in their promotional materials. You can see the rapid application development interface in a small window there – this afforded a connect-the-dots simple approach when developing our interface. This is clearer in the attached PDF of their brochure.
The devices were the SensAble Phantom OMNI haptic device shown here:
Two of these devices were interlinked using the proSENSE toolkit, which allowed us to use our Virtual Spinal Tap model in three ways:
- standalone learner, the device working independently, with no feedback to or from the teacher
- student-teacher, paired devices, with each user feeling the forces the other is feeling, allowing guidance
- student-examiner, paired devices, where the examiner can feel what the student is feeling, and the forces that the student applies, but the student is unaware of the examiner’s device or forces.
For the spinal model, we used a DICOM data set from a CT scan of a lumbar spine. We used software from Akamai to build this volumetric model.
The proSENSE software also required a Matlab licence. At the time, this was a significant budget constraint. Since then, many academic institutions now have a site licence for Matlab.
Sadly, since the time of our project a decade ago, things have moved on. Handshake VR Inc is no more. However, the haptic devices are still available from GeoMagic.