Haptic feedback in VR is important for realistic simulation in virtual reality. However, recreating the haptic experience for hand tools in VR traditionally requires hardware with precise actuators, adding complexity to the system. We propose Ungrounded Haptic Retargeting, an interaction technique that provides a realistic haptic experience for grabbing tools using only passive mechanisms. This technique leverages the ungrounded feedback inherent in grabbing tools combined with dynamic visual adjustments of their position in virtual reality to create an illusion of physical presence for virtual objects. To demonstrate the capabilities of this technique, we created VR Grabbers, an exemplary passive VR controller, similar to training chopsticks, with haptic feedback for precise object selection and manipulation.
We conducted two user studies based on VR Grabbers. The first study probed the perceptual limits of the illusion; we found that the maximum position difference between the virtual and physical world acceptable to the user is (-1.48, 1.95) cm. The second study showed that task performance of the VR Grabbers controller with Ungrounded Haptic Retargeting enabled outperforms the same controller with Ungrounded Haptic Retargeting disabled.