The Formable Object: A 24-Degree-of-Freedom Shape Rendering Interface
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Interacting with 3-D-shaped objects using bare hands represents a very intuitive way to explore object shapes and offers lots of new opportunities in the field of virtual reality and design. Only a few 3-D shape rendering interfaces are known in the literature so far, but their resolution is rather low and/or they are not actuated. Thus, a new parallel kinematic design for an actuated 3-D shape rendering interface with a comparatively high resolution is presented, which can be extended to cover larger interaction areas. Starting from a preliminary configuration, its kinematics is optimized for the rendering of basic shapes like cylinders or spheres. Due to its specific parallel kinematic design, where a determined system is gained by attaching one node to the environment, it can easily be mounted as an end-effector to kinesthetic haptic interfaces. The presented prototype of the formable object is evaluated with respect to its ability to render basic static and dynamic shapes as well as its maximum achievable mechanical stiffness.