Technological advances have been the main driver of enhancing human–computer interaction and interactive simulations have experienced exponential growth in recent years. However, visual and auditory channels are usually the only ones considered for educational simulations even though the sense of touch is also an important one. Touch allows us to recognize and interact with our surroundings. A common way to develop a visuo-haptic simulation in the area of interactive systems is by using a graphic and physics-based engine orchestrated with a haptic rendering framework. However, new solutions, such as professional game engines, have enabled the development of high-quality applications in much shorter time. In this paper, a novel architecture for fast development of interactive visuo-haptic applications in game engines is discussed. To validate the proposed architecture, the Haptic Device Integration for Unity (HaDIU) plugin was implemented. Simulations were implemented to verify the operability of haptic devices. Each scenario was properly modelled and has different haptic objectives. Furthermore, to validate that the usage of this approach provides better visualizations than an existing single purpose application, an experimental study was performed. Results suggest that by using this approach faster development of interactive visuo-haptic simulators can be achieved than using traditional techniques.
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