HYFAR: A Textile Soft Actuator for Haptic Clothing Interfaces



Haptic feedback is important in augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) because it closes the loop of touch sensation and provides physical realism to what is being rendered in the virtual world. In this context, clothing is an appealing substrate for haptic interfaces because it is in direct contact with the user’s skin and provides a large space for delivering haptic feedback. Most haptic garments are based on rigid devices (e.g. electromagnetic vibrotactors) which tamper the softness of clothing and increase encumbrance for the user. Fluidic elastomeric actuators are interesting because they are soft, can be molded in a variety of shapes, and manufactured at scale. We introduce a HYperelastic FAbric-Reinforced (HYFAR) soft actuator that is pneumatically powered and suitable for haptic clothing. It can render high forces, hyperinflate, be manufactured from textiles, and thanks to the local programming of the active membrane, render low encumbrance to the user and inflate into diverse shapes. We present the manufacturing process to program the local material properties of the membrane to achieve custom inflation by reinforcing a fabric-elastomer composite using embroidery. Furthermore, we present the modeling method that simulates the behavior of inflated, multi-material, hyperelastic membranes. Finally, we develop functional garments with HYFAR to demonstrate shape shifting behaviors and render kinesthetic haptic feedback at the shoulder abduction-adduction joint of the user.

Supplementary Material

Latest Publications