13.1 Touch and Proprioception

Visual and auditory senses are the main focus of VR systems because of their relative ease to co-opt using current technology. Their organs are concentrated in a small place on the head, and head tracking technology is cheap and accurate. Unfortunately, this neglects the powerful senses of touch and proprioception, and related systems, which provide an intimate connection to the world around us. Our eyes and ears enable us to perceive the world from a distance, but touch seems to allow us to directly feel it. Furthermore, proprioception gives the body a sense of where it is any in the world with respect to gravity and the relative placement or configuration of limbs and other structures that can be moved by our muscles. We will therefore consider these neglected senses, from their receptors to perception, and then to engineering systems that try to overtake them.


Steven M LaValle 2020-01-06