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Designing and Evaluating a Haptic System for Biomolecular Education
Linköping University, Department of Science and Technology, Visual Information Technology and Applications (VITA). Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
Linköping University, Department of Science and Technology, Visual Information Technology and Applications (VITA). Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
Linköping University, Department of Biomedicine and Surgery, Division of cell biology. Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4694-5611
Learning Sciences Research Institute, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK.
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2007 (English)In: IEEE Virtual Reality Conference, 2007. VR '07. / [ed] Sherman, W; Lin, M; Steed, A, Piscataway, NJ, USA: IEEE , 2007, 171-178 p.Conference paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

In this paper we present an in situ evaluation of a haptic system, with a representative test population, we aim to determine what, if any, benefit haptics can have in a biomolecular education context. We have developed a haptic application for conveying concepts of molecular interactions, specifically in protein-ligand docking. Utilizing a semi-immersive environment with stereo graphics, users are able to manipulate the ligand and feel its interactions in the docking process. The evaluation used cognitive knowledge tests and interviews focused on learning gains. Compared with using time efficiency as the single quality measure this gives a better indication of a system's applicability in an educational environment. Surveys were used to gather opinions and suggestions for improvements. Students do gain from using the application in the learning process but the learning appears to be independent of the addition of haptic feedback. However the addition of force feedback did decrease time requirements and improved the students understanding of the docking process in terms of the forces involved, as is apparent from the students' descriptions of the experience. The students also indicated a number of features which could be improved in future development.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Piscataway, NJ, USA: IEEE , 2007. 171-178 p.
Keyword [en]
Haptic Interaction, Haptics, Virtual Reality, Computer-assisted instruction, Life Science Education, Protein Interactions, Visualization, Protein-ligand docking
National Category
Engineering and Technology
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-39934DOI: 10.1109/VR.2007.352478ISI: 000245919300022Local ID: 51733ISBN: 1-4244-0906-3 (print)OAI: diva2:260783
IEEE Virtual Reality Conference, Charlotte, NC, USA, 10-14 March 2007

©2009 IEEE. Personal use of this material is permitted. However, permission to reprint/republish this material for advertising or promotional purposes or for creating new collective works for resale or redistribution to servers or lists, or to reuse any copyrighted component of this work in other works must be obtained from the IEEE. Petter Bivall Persson, Matthew Cooper, Lena Tibell, Shaaron Ainsworth, Anders Ynnerman and Bengt-Harald Jonsson, Designing and Evaluating a Haptic System for Biomolecular Education, 2007, IEEE Virtual Reality Conference 2007, 171-178.

Available from: 2009-10-10 Created: 2009-10-10 Last updated: 2016-05-04Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Touching the Essence of Life: Haptic Virtual Proteins for Learning
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Touching the Essence of Life: Haptic Virtual Proteins for Learning
2010 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This dissertation presents research in the development and use of a multi-modal visual and haptic virtual model in higher education. The model, named Chemical Force Feedback (CFF), represents molecular recognition through the example of protein-ligand docking, and enables students to simultaneously see and feel representations of the protein and ligand molecules and their force interactions. The research efforts have been divided between educational research aspects and development of haptic feedback techniques.

The CFF model was evaluated in situ through multiple data-collections in a university course on molecular interactions. To isolate possible influences of haptics on learning, half of the students ran CFF with haptics, and the others used the equipment with force feedback disabled. Pre- and post-tests showed a significant learning gain for all students. A particular influence of haptics was found on students reasoning, discovered through an open-ended written probe where students' responses contained elaborate descriptions of the molecular recognition process.

Students' interactions with the system were analyzed using customized information visualization tools. Analysis revealed differences between the groups, for example, in their use of visual representations on offer, and in how they moved the ligand molecule. Differences in representational and interactive behaviours showed relationships with aspects of the learning outcomes.

The CFF model was improved in an iterative evaluation and development process. A focus was placed on force model design, where one significant challenge was in conveying information from data with large force differences, ranging from very weak interactions to extreme forces generated when atoms collide. Therefore, a History Dependent Transfer Function (HDTF) was designed which adapts the translation of forces derived from the data to output forces according to the properties of the recently derived forces. Evaluation revealed that the HDTF improves the ability to haptically detect features in volumetric data with large force ranges.

To further enable force models with high fidelity, an investigation was conducted to determine the perceptual Just Noticeable Difference (JND) in force for detection of interfaces between features in volumetric data. Results showed that JNDs vary depending on the magnitude of the forces in the volume and depending on where in the workspace the data is presented.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2010. 78 p.
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Dissertations, ISSN 0345-7524 ; 1332
Haptics, Educational Research, Biomolecular Education, Life Science, JND, Just Noticeable Difference, Protein-ligand Docking, Haptic docking, Visualization, Haptic Transfer Functions, Volume Data Haptics, History Dependent Transfer Function, Log file analysis, Molecular Recognition, Force Feedback, Virtual Reality
National Category
Other Computer and Information Science
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-58994 (URN)978-91-7393-341-4 (ISBN)
Public defence
2010-10-01, The Dome Theater, Visualization Center C, Kungsgatan 54, Norrköping, Norrköping, 09:30 (English)
Available from: 2010-10-12 Created: 2010-09-06 Last updated: 2016-05-04Bibliographically approved

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Bivall Persson, PetterCooper, MatthewTibell, LenaYnnerman, AndersJonsson, Bengt-Harald
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Visual Information Technology and Applications (VITA)The Institute of TechnologyDivision of cell biologyFaculty of Health SciencesMolecular Biotechnology
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