Cross-Modal Terrains: Navigating Sonic Space through Haptic Feedback


This paper explores the idea of using virtual textural terrains as a means of generating haptic profiles for force-feedback controllers. This approach breaks from the paradigm established within audio-haptic research over the last few decades where physical models within virtual environments are designed to transduce gesture into sonic output. We outline a method for generating multimodal terrains using basis functions, which are rendered into monochromatic visual representations for inspection. This visual terrain is traversed using a haptic controller, the NovInt Falcon, which in turn receives force information based on the grayscale value of its location in this virtual space. As the image is traversed by a performer the levels of resistance vary, and the image is realized as a physical terrain. We discuss the potential of this approach to afford engaging musical experiences for both the performer and the audience as iterated through numerous performances.

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