Tangible XR

  Participant in the physical (left) and virtual vehicle Mock-Up (right) Copyright: © Michael Preutenborbeck  

In the Department of balanced Human Systems Integration, tangible XR (“eXtended Reality”) refers to methods that enable things in augmented reality and virtual reality to be experienced not only visually, but also haptic. Haptics plays an essential role in immersion, as it is extremely important for human perception not only to be able to see things, but also to be able to touch and feel them. To implement this, a number of technical solutions are being newly developed, researched and used in concrete applications in current research projects. These can be very simple objects created in 3D printing that are virtually enhanced with additional functionalities. However, they can also be very complex objects such as haptic gloves, which use force feedback to create the impression of physical resistance when touching or grasping objects.

The main advantage of tangible XR is a higher agility in developing and improving products and concepts. Those do not need to be developed into a finished prototype, but – at a much earlier prototypical development stage – can be experienced, explored and understood as fully functioning, touchable concepts together with stakeholders. Moreover, in combination with exploratory approaches, this flow enables not only the testing of existing concepts, but also the participatory design of new concepts for human-technology interaction, in which basically all stakeholders can be involved at an early stage.

The department of System Ergonomics is significantly driving this research field in the DFG Cluster of Excellence at RWTH Aachen University “Internet of Production” as well as in the DFG Priority Program “Interactively Cooperative Vehicles”, where the described research topics in the field of developing agile methods for production and transportation are continuously researched and systematically brought to application.