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What Are Haptics?

Haptic systems provide touch sensations to their operators and can include tele-robotic controls, tele-presence and virtual reality systems. Haptic devices integrate actuators, sensors and electronics to provide feel responses that interact with the human operator’s responses.

A Bristol-based Solution

WITTENSTEIN Bristol specialises in the design, development and supply of high precision haptic human input devices. The range of devices we have developed includes:

  • Active steering for remote vehicle control;
  • Active control sticks for aircraft
  • Control loading systems for flight simulators
  • Haptic exercise machines for therapeutic use

Active Steering

The WITTENSTEIN active steering system couples the vehicle steering to a remote steering station whilst providing accurate and highly responsive feel of the actual steering forces on the vehicle. The remote driver station can be in the vehicle or connected remotely via a radio or hardwire link. A simple disengagement system can revert the vehicle to normal driver control.

The advantage of this system over a system that does not provide force-feedback is that vehicle handling, including obstacle transit, is improved. This enhances the steering accuracy, reduces loads on the actual vehicle and reduces driver fatigue.

WITTENSTEIN’s active steering system can be packaged to fit almost any customer vehicle – please contact us for further details.

A World First….Active Control Sticks for Aircraft

WITTENSTEIN Bristol successfully developed the sensor and servo system, control algorithms and servo control software for the world’s first production aircraft active stick. The sticks have been in production since 2005.

The stick system provides an electrical linking between the pilots of the twin seat aircraft allowing them to feel each other’s control actions.

Aircraft active stick systems are produced and marketed by our sister company WITTENSTEIN aerospace & simulation GmbH.

Control Loaders for Aircraft Simulators

Simulator control loaders provide a realistic force feel for the pilot controls in a flight simulator. In a typical aircraft the feel may change as flight conditions vary and it is also useful to simulate failure cases for pilot training. To achieve the wide range of feels necessary, electric actuators are used with a programmable control system linked to the simulator host computer. In this way the main simulation of the aircraft and the instructor can interact with the system to change its feel. For more information, follow the link to Wikipedia.

WITTENSTEIN’s control loading systems were developed by WITTENSTEIN Bristol and have been produced to represent the controls in many different airplane and helicopter types. Their innovative integrated design and compact servo technology is recognised as being an important innovation for the industry.

WITTENSTEIN Bristol maintains the control software for these systems and assists customers with the set-up and qualification of the systems supplied outside America. Further details of the systems and the sales office contacts can be found here.

Haptic Exercise for Therapeutic Use

WITTENSTEIN Bristol worked on a collaborative project to develop a therapeutic exercise machine incorporating force control technology. Our clinical partner defined the requirements and WITTENSTEIN designed the system to meet the required safety standards. The machine was designed to provide therapies for a wide range of patients from people with injuries, who were otherwise fit and strong, to weaker, elderly patients. As a result the system had to meet stringent safety requirements, as well as provide a range of operating regimes.