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The Haptic Illusion

A programmable hardware unit which dynamically mimics the feeling of touching human internal organs

At a glance

  • The Haptic Illusion is developing a tactile device that uses virtual reality to create a fully immersive and efficient education environment for medical students.
  • This project is an exploration of how complex virtual haptic perception can be generated by minimal analogue simulation.

Key details


More information

Traditionally, palpation and percussion physical examination techniques where hands are used to check the patient’s body to diagnose potential diseases, are taught using real patients, rubber models or physical specimens which is highly costly.

Here, a new palpation training system is built based on the psychological theory: haptic perception interacts with other senses. In this system, the visual information of the patient is provided to the trainee by the VR headset, and the touching information is provided by the haptic interface.

This new technology uses soft robotics to mimic the feeling of touching internal organs suffering from a range of pre-specified conditions. The textural information available to the doctor through applying manual pressure onto the unit is comparable to that available from existing techniques but with greater effectiveness and cost efficiency.

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The Haptic Illusion