Thesis 2 progress


Elevator pitch:

My thesis is to exhibit a virtual object(s) in a space.The intangibility of which can be perceived through haptic feedback. The project aims to redefine a space which is both empty and full, in order to raise the discussion between virtual and reality. Depending on the size of the object, the experience would be either single or multiplayer. By exploring in the new dimension and feeling the volume of the object, the audience would accept the existence of the virtual object in the physical space.

Technological Precedent (haptic feedback):

“Ultrasound Waves”



“Robotic Arm” MIT Phantom

Technological Precedent (visual):

“Immaterial depth-fused 3D & 3D Multi-Viewpoint fog projection”



The power of touch: Making sense of haptic feedback

Touching the void:

“Regardless, haptic feedback remains on the frontier of experience design, potentially rewriting the ways we interact between the digital and physical worlds. It provides a whole new dimension, engrossing users and making the intangible tangible. Leveraging software and hardware with intuitive feedback, the future looks decidedly more touchy-feely.


Prototype 1:

In order to test out the experience of feeling a virtual object in a space, I designed a game for four players. The players are asked to stand along the four sides of a tape square on the floor, pretending the virtual object is displayed in the middle. Each of them has a diagram of part of the depth information of the virtual object. What the testers need to do is to demonstrate the volume and shape of the object with their hands as if they are touching the surface. And then the testers should guess what the object is based on their performance.



User Test:

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After the user testing, my testers found the concept of sensory perception is cool. They enjoyed collaborating with other participants and guessing the shape of the object. They also showed their concern of the teamwork aspect of the final presentation, they suggested finding a more effective way to collaborate each other to discovering the shape.

  • Evocative concept, to touch + communicate on the invisible…
  • Cool concept on sensory perception.
  • Really like the collaborating with the other participants. How does the communication work for the final presentation? Since the audience couldn’t know if the other’s gloves are vibrating or not?
  • Why do you define THE VOID to something INVISIBLE?
  • What role does SIGHT play in your overall concept/ thesis argument?
  • Should it be guessable? Is it necessary for the audience to get the correct answer of the object?


Prototype 2:

A haptic glove with vibration motors embedded.  Processing tracks different color using webcam, then send the data to Arduino to activate each vibration motor when the corresponding finger is inside a shape.


  • It feels like touching a force rather than a physical object.
  • One-size-fits-all glove.
  • The increasing intensive while reaching the core is misleading. Maybe binary rather than analog.


Updated statements:

1.The object doesn’t exist until it is been interact with people who wear the haptic device, it only exists through perception.

2.I am investigating how the audience can form the image/impression/representation of the object in their mind with minimum input (without visual element).


Six blind men and the elephant:

While one’s subjective experience is true, it may not be the totality of truth.”

“The parable implies that one’s subjective experience can be true, but that such experience is inherently limited by its failure to account for other truths or a totality of truth. At various times the parable has provided insight into the relativism, opaqueness or inexpressible nature of truth, the behavior of experts in fields where there is a deficit or inaccessibility of information, the need for communication, and respect for different perspectives.”

“We have to remember that what we observe is not nature in itself, but nature exposed to our method of questioning.” – Werner Heisenberg

“Anekāntavāda (Sanskrit: अनेकान्तवाद, “many-sidedness”) refers to the principles of pluralism and multiplicity of viewpoints, or vantage points, the notion that reality is perceived differently from diverse points of view, and that no single point of view is the complete truth, yet taken together they comprise the complete truth.”


Updated Statement:

My thesis project exhibits a virtual object in a space, perceived by its audience through haptic feedback. The project investigates how can audience form the impression of an object in their mind without the physical agent of it in reality. Therefore, the object takes on a presence when it is being interacted by people who wear the haptic gloves. By limiting and distorting the sensory input, the audience’s cognition of a space has changed. It signifies a space which is neither not-empty nor not-full, and raises the discussion of reconstructing the reality. Because of the limitations of our perception and cogitation, the information we get can only be fragmented and incomplete. Then could an object exist in space without a visible form, and create a physical sensation despite its invisibility?


Prototype 3:

Using Kinect sensor in order to get the three-dimensional information. Comparing the depth data from Kinect and the depth map of the object to check if the hands touch the object.


Wearable wireless tactile display for virtual interactions with soft bodies


Thesis Review


Prototype 4:

Switch to Leapmotion in order to track the position of each individual finger.


Exhibition + Aesthetic inspiration

Invisible: Art about the Unseen

Tom Friedman Untitled (A Curse), 1992. Photo Linda (1).jpg


Prototype 4-2:

Giving corresponding light feedback when touching.


Exhibition Plan:

Inspired by the exhibition “Invisible Art: Art about the Unseen” at The Hayward Gallery, my project is presented in a museum-like setting with three white pedestals placing in a bright space with white walls. Each of the pedestals has a spotlight pointing to it, indicating something is being displayed. The participant is asked to put on a pair of haptic gloves placing placed next to each pedestal and to explore exploring the shape of the object with their hands. A Leap motion is embedded under the surface of each pedestal, in order to track the position of the participant’s finger and trigger the haptic gloves to vibrate correspondingly when the audience touches d the surface of the virtual object.


System Diagram:



The prototype for Glove



Exhibition layout


Visual feedback system:

Throughout the user testing, people showed their concern about the lacking of the visual element in this project. Even though the project was intentionally designed to have minim sensory input, it will be difficult for the audience who observe the experience without wearing the gloves to understand what is going on. Therefore, the improvement of the glove and also the exhibition display was made.

LED is embedded in the fingertip of the gloves as well as the vibration motors. When the user touches the virtual object, the LED on the corresponding finger will light up to indicate the touch. At the same time, a camera fixed on the wall captures an image of every touch- ing moment. A multi-exposure photography with all the images is generated and dis- played on the monitor next to the installation, the photography updates time when the user touched the object. Because the LED only lights up when the fingertip position is on the surface of the object, then after a period of time during the exhibition, a bright shape of the virtual object will gradually appear in the photography.


Newest version of glove design




Glove design 4.0


May 16-19 MFADT Spectrum Exhibition:

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