From Telerobotics Lab

Research: How to Build an Inexpensive 5-DOF Haptic Device using Two Novint Falcons

On this page we demonstrate how two Novint Falcons, inexpensive commercially available haptic devices, can be modified to create a reconfigurable five-degree-of-freedom (5-DOF) haptic device for less than $100 (in addition to the price of the two Falcons, which at last check were selling for $250). The device is intended as an educational tool to allow a broader range of students to experience force and torque feedback, rather than the 3-DOF force feedback typical of inexpensive devices. Commercially available 5- and 6-DOF devices exist and feel great, but they can easily run $50,000 or more. Our 5-DOF device doesn't feel as nice, but at 1% of the price, it can be a great educational and research tool. Plus, all of the modifications described here are nondestructive, so you can always easily revert your Falcons back to their original condition.

The pictures on the right show the different configurations of the 5-DOF device. Each configuration uses the same stylus, so changing configurations is quick and easy. Since the Novint Falcons have limited range of motion, the best stylus configuration must be chosen for a given application. On this page, we explain how to build the device for yourself, we explain how to implement a 5-DOF force/torque control system that makes the two Falcons act in concert as a single haptic device, and we explain how to implement gravity compensation to make the now-even-heavier Falcons feel light. The gravity-compensation algorithm can also be applied to standard Falcons without our 5-DOF modifications.

Through the course of this project, we developed a gravity-compensation routine for the Falcon. Even if you don't want to build the modified 5-DOF device, the addition of gravity compensation makes the heavy Falcon feel much nicer. The publication and software below include code for both the 5-DOF and original 3-DOF device.


A. V. Shah, S. Teuscher, E. W. McClain, and J. J. Abbott, "How to Build an Inexpensive 5-DOF Haptic Device using Two Novint Falcons, In A. M. L. Kappers et al. (Eds.): EuroHaptics 2010, Part I, LNCS 6191, pp. 136-143, 2010.


If you use the device or algorithms described on this page, we ask that you please cite the publication. Thanks!




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Page last modified on November 12, 2011, at 02:58 PM