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Touchy, feely

Touchy, feely

A force-feedback device, combined with new software, lets users feel, as well as see, virtual objects. Connected to a computer workstation via PCI bus, the PHANToM(reg) force-feedback system incorporates motors, motion sensors, and mechanical linkage to convey the sense of touch.

GHOST(reg) software processes signals from motion sensors on the PHANToM arm. It then calculates feedback force and instructs the system's three motors as to how much resistance should be applied to the stylus or thimble, which forms the operator interface.

Point contact forces compute directly from volume data for a strong correspondence between the image on the screen and the force-feedback system. Potential application? Surgical simulation via the haptic device and digital medical images.

SensAble Technologies Inc., 215 First St., Cambridge, MA 02142, (617) 621-0150.

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