Bill Buxton's Notes
The Pantograph is a 2 dimensional force-feedback device. That is, it can be used to input 2D information into the computer, but it is also simultaneously a 2D tactile output device, or display. It was developed in 1993 by Vincent Hayward and Christophe Ramstein. The original motivation was to develop an input technology that would provide access to graphical user interfaces for people with visual disabilities.
In addition to the photo of the device that I have, Vincent Hayward has provided some images of other versions of the device which shed some light on how one explores the design space around a particular idea.
I really liked this device because of its innate simplicity – the design just had an elegance that appealed to me. In describing the project, the developers write:
Various versions have been used in the rehabilitation of visually handicapped persons, micro-gravity experiments, etc... The pantograph has one prominent characteristic: the surface which is being touched neither needs to be grasped not does it need to brace a finger (from an ecological view point, people very seldom use styluses or thimbles to explore objects. Using the pantograph resembles exploring surfaces though a small plate, which is closer to normality). Another feature is very high fidelity: irregularities in the frequency response start at 400Hz and it has 3 orders of magnitude of dynamic range. It has negligible friction and very low inertia which give the illusion (when no force signal is applied) of gliding over an icy surface.
In writing to me about it, Vincent Hayward said:
More about this work can be found in
Ramstein, C., & Hayward, V. (1994). The PANTOGRAPH: a large workspace haptic device for a multi-modal human computer interaction. Conference Companion of CHI'94: ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, 57-58.
As well as the accompanying article:
Hayward, V. (2001). Survey of Haptic Interface Research at McGill University. Proceedings of the Workshop in Interactive Multimodal Telepresence Systems. TUM, Munich, Germany, 91-98.
Company: McGill University | Year: 1993