Virtual Reality

, Volume 10, Issue 2, pp 73–83 | Cite as

Collaborative virtual sculpting with haptic feedback

  • Chris Gunn
Original Article


This paper introduces a haptic virtual environment in which two users can collaboratively sculpt a virtual clay model, working from different physical locations connected by the internet. They view their virtual sculpting tools and the clay model in 3D, feel the tool’s pressure on the clay as they work, and have their hands co-located with the view of the tool and model. Since the sculptors have independent views of the same logical environment, they can work at different zoom levels, and be in different coordinate systems, even spinning ones, at the same time. This provides them with the capability to explore new styles of collaborative creativity, working off each other’s initiative where appropriate. The system was designed to allow unrestrained, asynchronous behaviour by the collaborating sculptors. The paper describes the hardware as well as the algorithms behind the deformability of the clay surface and the communications model enabling the distance collaboration. It gives an explanation of the simple conflict resolution mechanism that haptic feedback facilitates and also reports on the results of a qualitative study into the creativity benefits of such a collaborative system.


Haptics Collaboration Sculpting Virtual environments 



This work was funded under the CeNTIE project ( = 22) which is supported by the Australian Government through the Advanced Networks Program (ANP) of the Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Limited 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)CanberraAustralia

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