A Motion Platform Based on People

(a research project with Lung-Pan Cheng, who is the primary investigator & first author)

Figure 1: Haptic turk uses people instead of machines to create motions that match with the player’s experience. The player is having an immersive hang glider experience with the head mounted device. The others lift, tilt and push the player around according to the instructions shown on the projection screen.

The main idea of the industrial revolution was to automate tasks that users would perform repeatedly. Consequently, we buy tractor to harvest a large field. However, we would not buy a tractor to harvest a small garden. The argue that the same applies to haptic experiences, as users tend to experience only one or twice. Big virtual reality hardware, such as motion platforms and roller coaster, thus tend to live in centralized locations, such as Disney World where flying in thousands of visitors justifies the investment. A somewhat questionable approach from a time and ecological standpoint. With Haptic Turk, we question this approach. By creating motion platforms based on people, rather than machines, it is intended to put haptic technology in the hands of millions.

Motion platforms are used to increase the realism of virtual interaction. Unfortunately, their size and weight is proportional to the size of what they actuate. We present haptic turk, a different approach to motion platforms that is light and mobile. The key idea is to replace motors and mechanical components with humans. All haptic turk setups consist of a player who is supported by one or more human-actuators. The player enjoys an interactive experience, such as a flight simulation. The motion in the player’s experience is generated by the actuators who manually lift, tilt, and push the player’s limbs or torso. To get the timing and force right, timed motion instructions in a format familiar from rhythm games are displayed on actuators’ mobile devices, which they attach to the player’s body.

Figure 2: Haptic turk allows producing motion experiences anywhere anytime. Here, the suspended player is enjoying a hang gliding game using iPad. The four actuators follow the instructions shown on the mobile phones attached to the player to create just the right physical motion to fill in the player’s experience

Haptic Turk on YouTube


Cheng, LP, Lühne, P., Lopes, P., Sterz, C. and Baudisch, P.
Haptic Turk: a Motion Platform Based on People.
In Proceedings of CHI 2014, pp.3463-3472.  PDF (4.9M) |  Video.


We thank Caro Fetzer for her help modeling the team flight 3D world.