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The Role of Haptics in Architectural Engineering

The Role of Haptics in Architectural Engineering

Haptics-based design with VR/MR/AR can help architectural engineers to understand the spatial and material characteristics with a sense of touch

Haptics technology has emerged as the most promising and futuristic innovation that runs on the principle of multi-sensorial VR/MR/AR with touch stimuli being its prime focus. In a broader sense, haptics encompasses the human interaction with the external (mostly virtual) environment through the sense of touch.

The market of haptic technology is growing at a CAGR of 16.20% and is expected to reach USD 19.55 billion by the year 2022 and we can see many technological giants investing in this technology with a strong belief in the future penetration of haptics in the mainstream businesses across all major industries, be it healthcare, manufacturing, architecture, or engineering.

In this article, we will talk about the role of haptics in architectural engineering. But, before we delve in the architectural haps, as it is now popularly called, let us first understand the basics of haptics and senses that it addresses.

What is Haptics Technology?

Haptics technology comes in three forms -

  • Graspable
  • Wearable
  • Touchable systems

These three forms can act towards two types of sensations -

  • Tactile - Sensations that you can feel on your skin and involves contact location, pressure, vibration, and temperature.

  • Kinesthetic - Sensations related to the position, orientation, force, and others.

The Potential of Haptics in Architectural Design and Engineering

The emerging confluence of virtual, mixed and augmented realities in the architecture sector has left the industry marketers gasping to explore more and push the limits further. Let us discuss some areas where it can bring disruptive transformation -

  • Creation of Immersive Reality

    Creation of Immersive Reality

    With VR technology becoming mainstream in architectural engineering, it is clear that people are looking for immersive experiences. The introduction of haptics will be a step further in the direction of interactive reality experiences that will enable the users to feel the objects and gain insights into spatial and material qualities through the sense of touch. Many breakthrough technologies in haptics are being engineered every day to bring this dream of a fully immersive reality to realization.

  • Virtual Team Interactions and Better Designing

    Virtual Team Interactions and Better Designing

    Haptics will pave the way for architects, construction teams, engineers, and other real estate folks to experience the virtual presentations and not just do a walkthrough but at the same time, feel the objects around them. They will be able to touch, squeeze, hold the objects, understand the texture of the walls or the floor, and feel the fabric of the sofa, making the virtual world seem surreal. Haptics based designs will allow the teams to interact and closely observe the spaces and establish architectural errors and discrepancies, allowing them to be resolved way before investing huge sums in building the projects and then identifying the mistakes. It will certainly streamline and fasten processes with infinite opportunities to try varied options and controls, allowing effective completion of project processes.

  • A Wholesome Interior and Exterior Design Experience

    A Wholesome Interior and Exterior Design Experience

    The future trends of haptic architecture & design will allow the architects, customers, and other users to take effective and more accurate decisions on architectural materials, surfaces, furniture, etc., quickly and cost-effectively.

  • Stunning Marketing Applications

    Stunning Marketing Applications

    Imagine the various applications of haptics in engineering and architecture. It can become an awe-inspiring marketing tactic that will blow away the minds of potential investors and buyers. While VR/MR/AR are all audio/visual technologies, applying haptics to architecture will mean the dawn of a new era, one where the user will be able to touch, feel, and control the environment it is interacting with. It will also certainly bring down the costs and time involved in the creation of real environments.

Principles for Haptic Design

A tactile future dependent on the haptics technology will require a fundamental framework for the effective creation of designs. Working across three-dimensional spaces in architectural engineering along with inculcation of multisensorial capabilities will require a disciplined and sincere approach towards designing purposeful, seamless, and lifelike experiences.

Simplicity, consistency, and the ability to think holistically are base principles to focus on when building haptic environments for the architecture industry. Expanding on the natural abilities of the touch and aligning the haptics with them is one of the core values that need to be carefully studied and intelligently applied.

In short, the architects' challenge to include haptics is to create interactions that justify the natural environments for truly enriching user experiences, and establishing robust principles of haptics design can enable teams to achieve better outcomes.

Roadblocks to Engineering Haptics into Architecture

Haptics involves understanding and integration of neuroscience with technology to influence cognitive responses from the user and this, exactly, is the biggest challenge for the developers of haptics. Currently, the capabilities of haptics remain limited, largely because this technique involves creating a virtual experience of touch tricking the brain into thinking its real, and the brain, after all, is the most complex human organ of which our knowledge is that of a tip of an iceberg.

So, fostering a deep study and correlation of neuroscience and haptics technology will be the key to overcoming this challenge of making it all truly worthwhile.

The Key Takeaway - Leverage Haptics in Your Architectural Designs

Despite the challenges to realize the true potential of haptics, the future looks bright. In the past twenty years, researchers, developers, and engineers have enabled never seen, never heard before innovations in virtual/mixed/augmented realities and have been constantly leveling up the user experiences through ingenious tools and software. Even the advancement in haptics technology has been commendable and further down the road, designers will be able to create stunning, natural, and immersive haptic systems architecture modeling designs.

It's the right time to take the next big step in the architectural design and process and explore opportunities to take the game to the next level. O2I can be an ideal partner to make your big dream of integrating haptics into your project, a soaring reality.Get in touch with us today.

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