- It appears that the haptic modality has been exploited mainly in order to reproduce real-life sensations.For example, Rodrigues et al. suggest that the incorporation of haptic systems in Serious Games allows one to augment the level of realism and to achieve a more efficient level of involvement . Deng et al. concluded that haptics introduce one more dimension of sensory modality for a more immersive game experience . In the same way, Hou et al. highlighted that haptics may be used to simulate an immersive and realistic virtual environment . Beyond the incontestable advantages mentioned, noting that one of the main advantages of a SG is in its ability to exceed the limits of the real word, we argue that haptics can be relevant for the rendering of information that is not represented (or is under represented) in the real world. For example, in a Serious Game dedicated to the analysis of data resulting from Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulations, the haptic feedback may be useful to help the user to track a streamline .
- Haptics are not included at the core of the game design process; one talks about integrating the haptic into the game.In this view, the haptic interaction is seen as being a third party that would be added afterwards into the game. For example, Rodriguez et al. noticed that there is an important question about to how "to integrate haptic devices", to conform their limitations to a specific problem addressed in a Serious Game . They also point out that the integration of the device should be realized without compromising the content of the SG . However, considering the singularity of the haptic modality (being bidirectional), one cannot separate haptics from the content nor from the interaction with the game. On the contrary, we argue that haptic interactions have to be central to the design process.
2.1. Added Value of a Visio-Haptic Interaction
- The haptic channel may be helpful to unload the visual channel.In contrast to a situation having a pure visual interaction, the haptic feedback offers an additional channel for the rendering of information. For example, the haptic feedback is used to convey physico-chemical forces of intermolecular bonds . In this situation, the haptic interaction may be exploited to extend the communication bandwidth between the user and the virtual environment.
- The haptic rendering of information allows for strengthening information already presented in the visual channel.As in the case of a pleonasm, to reinforce information, although already visually rendered, it can also be presented via the haptic channel. In , the haptic feedback allows for reinforcing the rendering of various internal organs perceived throughout different hardness.
- The haptic rendering of information may be exploited to supplement the visual feedback.In this case, the haptic modality gives access to information that is hardly or not perceptible visually. For example, Menelas et al. have exploited tactons to convey a risk of fall while walking .
2.2. Psychophysical Characteristics of the Haptic Perception
- Haptics provide a bi-directional communication channel.The characteristic that is unique to the haptic modality is its bi-directionality. The perception of visual information is not much influenced by the action of the person. Furthermore, a scene presented visually is perceived as a coherent whole. In the haptic case, the process of integration is quite different because the haptic perception of information requires a specific type of movement named Exploration Procedure (EP) [35,36]. Therefore, the perception of any particular haptic information (weight, texture, hardness) requires for each one a specific movement. A weight requires different vertical movements, while lateral ones are better suited for the perception of a texture. Doing so, the haptic perception of information implies a two-way communication with the entity of interest.
- Haptics are very intimate and provide a strong connection.However, humans can express emotions through speech or writing as one says in intense emotional moments: there is no word to express the feelings. For such moments, only a touch, the physical contact, allows to convey what one feels as trusting someone [37,38]. This explains why touch is more intimate and creates a direct link between a person and the environment (ecological, digital). In the same way, a mother hugging her child will transmit the love and the feeling of security that the child needs for his well-being and for building his self-esteem . Furthermore, the fact of feeling material properties such as temperature and texture strengthens the emotional dimension of other modalities . For instance, touching a rough texture can lead to feeling more empathy , just as a temperature can affect people’s generosity or even influence their judgment . That being said, touching may also become inappropriate and too invasive in some cases . In some societies, touching someone can be seen as being a very impolite act, or even rude. McLean argues that some people are haptically challenged and do not generally find touching natural, informative or pleasant [44,45].
- Haptics allow high differentiation but are not adapted to memorization .By touching, one can differentiate several levels of texture or detect a damaged surface or a scratch. However, it is almost impossible to recall these levels. Unlike in the visual modality where any color gamut is associated with a shade; for the haptic case, it is completely different. One can identify only a few textures described with adjectives such as: sticky, rough, smooth. In fact, all the physical properties that define the microstructure of a surface (roughness, hardness and elasticity) are encompassed in the term “texture”.
- Haptics can be influenced by the visual.Welch noticed that vision dominates the other channels in spatial perception . Therefore, visual information has a direct impact on the haptic perception as well as on limb position (hand)  and object size [48,49]. Koseleff has pointed out that subjects perceived differently the weight of an object through a lens . The perceived weight increases whenever the size increases.
3. A new model to support learning outcomes in SGs
3.1. Respondent Conditioning: A Means for the Development of Technical or Motor Skills
3.2. Operant Conditioning: A Way to Engage the Player with the Content of the Game
3.3. Constructivism Approach: A Means to Support Cognitive Skills
3.4. Schematization of This Model
- In area 1, technical skills associated with trivial contents are considered. In a driving simulator, the auditory rendering of the engine of other cars is located in this area.
- In area 2, cognitive skills associated with trivial contents are considered. In a driving simulator, if the goal is to learn to maintain the steering wheel in a particular direction, interactions with the dashboard are situated in this area.
- In area 3, the technical skills associated with valuable content are represented. In the case of a simulation about the landing performance of an aircraft in turbulent conditions , the rendering of the turbulence is a relevant content that is associated with technical skills.
- In area 4, the cognitive skills associated with valuable content are represented. In a tornado analysis simulator , tools that allow one to draw or to follow elements of interest as “flowlines” are valuable contents associated with cognitive skills.
- In area 5, physico-cognitive activities with trivial information are considered. Let us consider a driving simulation where the objective is to avoid technical mistakes. Having a map that allows the user to search for the quickest route is a trivial content that requires physico-cognitive skills.
- In area 6, motor and cognitive skills are solicited with a relevant content. In the case of a surgical simulator, a scenario that would take us to this area would be the following: the practitioner has to make several realistic maneuvers to try to stabilize a patient. Every element of the simulator that informs about the state of the patient is relevant content.
4. Use of the Haptic Modality to Support Learning Outcomes
4.1. Haptics to Engage the Player with the Content of the Game
4.2. Use of Haptics for the Development of Technical or Motor Skills
4.3. Use of Haptics for the Development of Cognitive Skills
- Select: to choose or mark an entity of interest.In a selection, the haptic feedback is employed in order to assist users in picking up a point of interest. In haptic augmented selection, a pseudo-attractive force is usually simulated at the position of the entities of interest (also manned target). In situations where a single target is rendered, such haptic feedback allows one to improve the completion velocity as well as the accuracy of the task . When there are multiple targets, for each target, an area of influence has to be defined in order to obtain the advantage of the haptic interaction [90,91].
- Locate: to spatially and temporally situate an entity of interest in the dataset.One of the first methods that has been proposed concerns the identification of regions containing high values with velocity mapping . The field value is mapped to the velocity of the haptic device. This method slows down the hand of the user in regions having values of interest. In the analysis of an unsteady flow, critical points located in the immediate environment of the users are rendered visually by colored spheres and haptically through a sinusoidal vibration. Realized experiments show that vibration feedback reinforces the visual feedback and facilitate the construction of a mental map of the analyzed Computational Fluid Dynamics simulation.
- Connect: to join elements with common properties.This approach allows one to haptically track structures of interests. In doing so, local properties of this structure can be studied adequately. This also allows one to take advantage of multimodal analysis. With this approach, some methods relate to the haptic rendering of lines, others relate to the haptic rendering of iso-surfaces. For haptic rendering of lines, most of the methods have been proposed by Pao et al. in  and van Reimersdahl et al. in . Haptic rendering of isosurfaces have been introduced by Mark et al. and Avila et al., respectively, in [94,95]. Subsequently, several researchers have proposed significant improvements [33,96,97,98].
- Arrange: to assist users in the spatial arrangement of analyzed elements.Here, some constraint rules may be employed in order to guide the gestures of the user based on some information contained within the dataset. Such methods have been successfully employed to overcome limitations of traditional docking algorithms. The haptic feedback allows one to translate physical and chemical properties of elements to the user involved into the docking process. By means of the haptic modality, a greater amount of information is transmitted to the user without risking the overload of the visual channel.
4.4. Discussion and Evaluation
- The descriptive power: the ability to describe a significant range of existing methods,
- The evaluative power: the ability to help assess multiple existing methods,
- The generative power: the ability to help in the design of new methods.
4.4.1. Descriptive power
4.4.2. Evaluative power
4.4.3. Generative power
- Engaging the player with the content of the game,
- The development of technical skills.
Conflicts of Interest
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|The Soccer Ball||Technical Gestures|
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