Picture of Clemens Schuwerk

Clemens Schuwerk, Dr.-Ing.

Chair of Media Technology (Prof. Steinbach)

Postal address

Arcisstr. 21
80333 München


Clemens Schuwerk studied Electrical Engineering at the Technische Universität München (Germany) and University of Edinburgh (Scotland). He received the degree "Dipl. Ing. (Univ)" in November 2010. After this he joined the Media Technology Group at the Technische Universität München in March 2011, where he is working as a member of the research staff. His current research interests are in the field of networked haptic virtual environments.

Research Interests

Distributed Shared Haptic Virtual Environments 

Incorporating the haptic modality into human-machine communication is a growing field in current research. It is proven that haptic feedback improves the sense of immersion into distant environments and leads to a high degree of realism. Haptic data refers to forces, torques and other tactile data that is used as feedback to the user with haptic devices. Besides video and audio, this is an important additional information which enables the user to truly immerse into any distant scenario.

In particular, multimodal virtual environments can be used for surgical simulations, virtual prototyping, assembly simulations, teaching/training applications or multiplayer games. If two or more users are collaborating within a virtual world interactively, the addition of the haptic modality improves their sense of togetherness, although they might be geographically distributed. Existing communication infrastructure like the Internet makes haptic exploration of, and collaboration within distant virtual environments feasible.

But with the incorporation of the haptic modality into shared virtual worlds, several issues arise. The high temporal resolution of the human haptic perception system requires a high stimulus refresh rate of 1 kHz and the applications in general struggle with very strong communication delay constraints on the network. Thus, suitable communication architectures and efficient packet rate reduction schemes have to be studied that provide low delay, transparency to the users and stable haptic interaction. A number of architectures, two possibilities are shown in the figures below, can be conceived for building SHVEs that all have their pros and cons. Generally, they are either based on client-server or P2P communication architectures. Consistency between the virtual environment’s state in presence of communication delay is easier to maintain with the traditional client-server architecture, but the direct communication between peers in P2P approaches reduces the communication delay, as the full round trip time to a centralized server is avoided.

The future vision is to have massive virtual worlds with numerous users, active at the same time and may be distributed all over the globe. Within this world, each user can haptically touch objects, solely or collaboratively manipulate them and feel the other’s actions as realistic as possible to enable true immersion into virtual world.

Clemens Schuwerk is working within the EU-funded research project ProHaptics.