Haptic Virtual Environments as a Science Learning Supporting Tool: A Preliminary Study

C.S. Nam and I. Shafieloo (USA)


Haptic Virtual Environments, Multiple Sensory Feedback, Thermal User Interface, Science Learning


Although haptic force feedback technology has already shown promise as a means to convey concepts of physical science to various user groups, extant research on the effects of haptic thermal feedback in addition to other modalities on students’ learning, in particular science learning, is still sparse. Studies on sensory modalities in virtual environments which have relatively neglected (i.e., haptic thermal feedback) can contribute to a body of knowledge on how to integrate haptic thermal feedback into virtual environments and, consequently, how to effectively combine multiple modalities to represent information. An empirical experiment was reported, which is currently being conducted to assess whether additional haptic thermal feedback within a virtual environment had an effect on learning experience about a science concept (i.e., temperature). This study maintains that providing integrated haptic feedback (i.e., tactile, force, and thermal senses) can evoke the tacit embodied knowledge, making it accessible for formal learning, because basic and advanced science concepts (e.g., temperature, friction and field of force) are rooted in touch.

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