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Haptic Pendulum Project

The study of pendulums has many practically applications ranging from advancements in robotics and offshore drilling platforms to the development of earthquake-proof buildings.

The University of Toronto's Adaptive Technology Resource Centre (ATRC) embarked on the development of a Haptics pendulum as part of its Network for Inclusive Distance Education (NIDE) project. Funded in part by the Networks Ontario Telecommunications Access Partnerships (TAP) program, the objective was to make the study of pendulum motion available to students with disabilities.

Tools such as a Haptics mouse, joystick, pen (or other similar device), enable computer-generated images, text, and movement to be transmitted to users via tactile feedback. Through Haptics devices, users are able to feel the curves, edges, surface texture, and motion of objects displayed on a computer screen.

The Haptics Pendulum device is a pen attached to a force feedback motor that simulates the swinging motion of a pendulum displayed on computer. The motion of the pendulum's bob was mapped to the end of a PenCat Pro arm (a 3-D Haptic pen) that enabled users to "feel" the velocity, range, and resting state of a pendulum.

The ATRC added Haptics and speech to the pendulum simulation so that users with a visual impairment would be able to conduct experiments at the university level. While the manufacturer has discontinued the PenCat Pro Haptic device, the software for this primarily research-driven project remains viable.

The Adaptive Technology Resource Centre

J.P. Robarts Library, First Floor, University of Toronto Information Commons
130 St. George St. Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5S 3H1
Telephone: (416) 978-4360 Fax: (416) 971-2629

For additional information please e-mail Laurie Harrison