(Dr. Bert Bras, advisor)
"Haptically-Enabled Virtual Environment to Simulate Damage and Breakage Due to Human-Product Interaction"
In this thesis it is proposed that a haptically-enabled virtual environment with deformation modeling can be used to conduct analyses of damage and breakage due to human-product interaction. In order to test this hypothesis, such a virtual environment will be developed and user studies will be conducted to evaluate its usefulness in determining how users interact with a product. Specifically, it will be determined whether the virtual environment can allow the user to apply forces to – and even damage or break – virtual objects in the same modes, amounts and locations as would be done with real objects. Completion of the proposed research will result in the following significant contributions: 1) software that can function as a test bed for additional studies on the utility of haptic feedback and deformation modeling; 2) the issue of modeling damage and breakage during haptic interaction for virtual prototyping will have been addressed, which to our knowledge has not been done in published research; 3) the utility of stereoscopy and audio for enhancing the effectiveness of the virtual environment will have been determined; and 4) insight will have been gained into the relative advantages and disadvantages of virtual prototypes versus physical (rapid-prototyped) prototypes for conducting analyses of damage and breakage due to human-product interaction.