Bringing Haptics to Second Life for Visually Impaired People

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Abstract

Potential applications of online virtual worlds are attracting the interest of many researchers around the world. One and perhaps the most famous example of such systems is Linden Lab’s Second Life. Last year, sources for its client application have been released under the GPL license, allowing anyone to extend it building a modified client. This work presents an effort to explore the possibilities that haptic technologies can offer to multiuser online virtual worlds, to provide users with an easier, more interactive and immersive experience. A haptic-enabled version of the Second Life Client, supporting major haptic devices, is proposed. Two haptic-based input modes have been added which help visually impaired people to navigate and explore the simulated 3D environment by exploiting force feedback capabilities of these devices.