Generating Virtual Materials using Motion Coupled Vibration in Shoes

Many features of materials can be experienced through tactile cues, even using one’s feet. For example, one can easily distinguish between moss and stone without looking at the ground. However, this type of material experience is largely not supported in AR and VR applications. We  present bARefoot, a prototype shoe providing tactile impulses tightly coupled to motor actions. This enables generating virtual material experiences such as compliance, elasticity, or friction. To explore the parameter space of such sensorimotor coupled vibrations, we present a design tool enabling rapid design of virtual materials. We report initial explorations to increase understanding of how parameters can be optimized for generating compliance, and to examine the effect of dynamic parameters on material experiences. Finally, we present a series of use cases that demonstrate the potential of bARefoot for VR and AR.