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Journal of Information Science and Engineering, Vol. 23 No. 5, pp. 1421-1436 (September 2007)

Design of Force-Reflection Joystick System for VR-Based Simulation*

Wei-Ching Lin+ and Kuu-Young Young
+Chung-shan Institute of Science and Technology
Taoyuan, 325 Taiwan
Department of Electrical and Control Engineering
National Chiao Tung University
Hsinchu, 300 Taiwan

In this paper, we develop a force-reflection joystick system for VR-based simulation, including a 2-DOF joystick and the related software. The developed force-reflection joystick, as a kind of haptic device, provides two-way communication in both position and force, and is very helpful for the user to interact with a simulation system. By considering the main factors in designing a force-reflection joystick, we build the joystick to be with the bandwidth, precision, and output torque comparable to the advanced commercial joystick. We also perform workspace analysis, system identification, and system modeling to better connect the joystick with the simulation system. To make it suitable for various applications, the software is developed to generate virtual motion constraints, so that the joystick is confined to operate within the workspace that corresponds to task requirements. In other words, the joystick may behave like a manipulative device specific for the given task. For demonstration, in experiments, we use the developed joystick system to emulate a virtual manual gearshift system.

Keywords: force-reflection joystick, virtual motion constraint, simulation system, haptic device, virtual reality

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Received August 22, 2005; revised November 23, 2005 & August 10, 2006; accepted November 1, 2006.
Communicated by Chin-Teng Lin.
*Part of this paper has been presented at International Conference on Mechatronics Technology, Taipei, Taiwan, 2003. This work was supported in part by the National Science Council of Taiwan, under grant No. NSC 94-2218-E-009-006, and also by Department of Industrial Technology under grant No. 94-EC-17-A- 02-S1-032.