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Incorporating the field of haptics with virtual reality

This is Science Today. A prototype of sophisticated robotic arms, called exoskeleton arms, has been developed by engineers at the University of California, Santa Cruz. The development can be used for many applications, including physical therapy and rehabilitation. Jacob Rosen, an associate professor of computer engineering, says one application they're working on is a field called Haptics.

Rosen:                        Haptics in Greek is the sense of touch and the idea is that I can put you in a virtual environment and you can reach out, touch a virtual object and feel the force feedback.

Narrator:        Force feedback strengthens the muscles and Rosen says for stroke patients, this type of application is stimulating.

Rosen:                        The whole treatment for an adult is very frustrating. You're essentially taking an adult and asking them to perform as a one or two-year old child. And therefore the idea to stimulate the treatment intellectually is an important component of the treatment itself.

Narrator:        For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.