Adrian Leung
London

Locus2020



LOCUS is a haptic device used to aid Situated Testimony within Forensic Architecture, a process of interviewing and gathering testimonies from witnesses using 3D models of the environments in which traumatic events occurred.

LOCUS allows witnesses to interact with spatial models through VR, exploring their memories of the episode in a controlled and secure manner, which could lead to fragments of recollection surfacing previously obscured by violence and trauma.

Final Year Project- Industrial Design & Technology, Loughborough University. Not commissioned by Forensic Architecture.

Role

Industrial Design, Research, Strategy, Branding, Engineering, Visualisation.






The   Narrative


Since 2011, thousands have died in prisons and detention facilities operated by the Syrian government. Tens of thousands of people have been tortured and ill-treated, in violation of international law. 

In April 2016, Forensic Architecture met with five survivors from Saydnaya Prison. As there are no images of Saydnaya in the public domain, The former detainees described the cells and other details to researchers, who would reconstruct the spaces using architectural modelling.










“We have done a few projects involving situated testimony facilitated with VR and your work on haptic feedback seems as though it could be another vital piece of the puzzle in the field of Forensic Architecture. I can imagine how powerful it would be for a witness to be able to interact with an object in a space with some kind of touch feedback mechanism.”

- Nick Masterton,
Researcher at Forensic Architecture.






Existing  Limitations


Descriptive Burden

Long process of describing a space in detail.


Distorted or Lack of Visual Memory

Memory based on touch and audio.



Lack of Mediation Between Lay-person & Technology

Low level of realism in  3D viewport. Confusion with the use of VR controllers.


Performative Aspects of a Testimony

Lack of props for direct interaction.







Proposition


To enhance the process, LOCUS proposes to tackle the distorted or lack of visual memory, as well as cutting down descriptive burden of the witnesses during a testimony by allowing them to directly interact with the 3D model, enhancing the performative aspects of a testimony.


Virtual Space vs Studio Space



“The opening was this big.” / “The object was here.”






“We’re starting to do more immersive and phenomenological descriptions of the space, in real-time using a game engine. I feel like the use of VR and haptic implementation for spatialising human rights violations is a great application.”

- Nick Masterton, researcher at Forensic Architecture.










LOCUS features both force and tactile feedback, providing the user with muscular resistance when grasping a virtual object in VR, as well as the sense of touch and texture when interacting with virtual surfaces.

Modulated components design inspired by Madrasostes Kazumai Beetles allows the movement of the hand to be unrestricted.

Ladder-lock buckles to provide adjustability for variable finger lengths.

All modules are attached onto gloves by Velcro pads, easily removed for the gloves to be washed.








Removable Battery: LiPo battery pack connected through magnetic connector.





Force Feedback: Electromagnetic Brake, muscular resistance when interacting a virtual object.





Tactile Feedback: Data collected to drive vibration motor at the fingertip, mimicking the sense of touch and texture.

1. Virtual Surface.
2. Normal/Bump Map.
3. Height Data.
4. Vibration intensity.





An electromagnetic braking system was developed for force feedback, which incorporates pivoting bearings to allow left & right XY planar rotational movements of the finger, lacking in existing products.








Technology

Motion tracking technology is built within the new lines of VR and AR headsets, eliminating the need for VR controllers.




Functional Prototype: Using the Leap Motion infrared sensor, the hardware reports positions, gestures and motion by reading the change in angle of finger per frame of detection.

Created with Arduino, JavaScript with modules: Node.js, gIMatrix, Firmata, Johnny-Five and Underscore.js. Video below shows servo motor mapped to the movement of the index finger.









RnD

Research, concept generation and iterations of prototypes.





© Adrian Leung, 2023
All Rights Reserved