A new mechanism to induce a virtual force based on human illusory sensations is introduced. An asymmetric signal is applied to a tactile actuator such that the user feels that the device is being pulled (or pushed) in a particular direction, although it is not supported by any mechanical connection to other objects or the ground. The proposed tactile device is significantly smaller and lighter than any previous force-feedback devices. This small form factor allows the device to be implemented in several novel interactive applications, such as a pedestrian guide system that includes a finger-mounted tactile device or an (untethered) input device that features virtual force. Our experimental results indicate that this illusory sensation actually exists and the proposed device can switch the virtual force direction within a short period.
Applications: Left: A pedestrian guide system, Right: An input device with virtual force.