Section: Contracts and Grants with Industry
Keywords : Haptic, Vision, Sensory Integration, Perception, Robotics, Virtual Reality.
ROBEA ECOVIA : Study of Visuo-Haptic Integration
The aim of the ROBEA Project "ECOVIA" was to study human perception and integration of visual and haptic information. Our results intend to improve computer-human interaction in robotics during tele-operations or in virtual reality systems.
The ECOVIA project was planned to study human perception and visuo-haptic integration, and to identify the potential robotic applications. ECOVIA was planned for 2 years and has began on October 2003. It was a collaboration between 5 partners : 2 INRIA projects (i3D and SIAMES), CEA LIST (French Commission for Atomic Energy), Collège de France (LPPA), and University of Paris 5 (LCD).
This research was part of a complex project for the simulation and implementation of fulfilling Virtual Environments (VE) and for the application of sensory integration in a robotic context.
In this framework, it was of great interest to study the perception of integrated visual and haptic information. The comprehension and modelling of multimodal, and more specifically, visuo-haptic integration have been debated for ages. Ernst and Banks have recently proposed (Nature, 2002) a statistical model for the visuo-haptic integration based on the maximum-likelihood estimator (MLE) of the environmental property. They proposed a model in which each sensory channel contributes to the perception in an inversely proportional fashion to its variance (noise). Within ECOVIA, we first planned to test this model and second to study and if possible to model other aspects of visuo-haptic integration.
The research activity was divided into 5 research actions. Action 1 tested the correctness of the model proposed by Ernst and Banks in a different visuo-haptic environment. Action 2 focused on the influence of bimodal information (visual + haptic) on the elaboration and use of internal models. In the third action (Action 3), we studied the possibility for the modality weighting (as proposed by Ernst and Banks) to be related to other parameters than the noise of the signal. The fourth action (Action 4) proposed a physiological analysis of the visuo-haptic integration. Last, the fifth action (Action 5) provided the ECOVIA project with application perspectives. This action was first focused on the identification of potential applications of our fundamental results. Then we developed one particular application, in the field of robotics.