Recent advances in haptics technology and the decrease in hardware cost allow the addition of haptic feedback to a wide range of applications. Although the use of haptics has not made a clear path into elementary and higher education, we are among the believers that the potential is enormous. Multimodal interfaces combining 3D graphics and haptics have the potential to facilitate understanding of concepts and phenomena as well as promote new methods for teaching and training. HaptEK16 project explores haptic interfaces with 3D representations of hydraulic systems designed to simulate various forces and pressures.
The HaptEK16 system enables students to experiment using the haptic feedback a number of arrangements and sizing of physical components. The simulator contains a set of activities. The figure below illustrates the Hydraulic Machines activity; a student can apply pressure on the left cylinder and fell the force generated by that pressure. The purpose of the activity is to help students gain a deeper understanding of the laws of hydraulics.
We have designed and implemented several activities to guide the students from the simple concept of pressure (depending on two parameters: force and area) to the more complex system of a hydraulic car lift.
We are in the process of implementing extensive assessments for the simulator efficiency. We will also add other haptic modules and scenarios for physics (e.g. spring resistance and friction) and other disciplines.