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Anarkik3D is a micro software development company co-founded by Ann Marie Shillito (designer/maker and digital technology user), and Xiaoqing Cao (computer scientist and artist).

Anarkik3DDesign with Novint’s Falcon device

Their product, Anarkik3DDesign, combines haptic (virtual touch) 3D modelling software (Cloud9) with off-the-shelf haptic hardware (Novint’s Falcon device), providing three degrees of movement and grounded ‘force feedback’ haptics that deliver a real sense of touching digital objects. Human sense of touch and 3D movement tap into our real-world expertise and tacit knowledge, making Anarkik3DDesign easy to learn and use.

Anarkik3DDesign has been widely used by applied artists, providing them with an accessible, affordable ‘semi-immersive’ three dimensional environment in which to work creatively and with ‘flow’, to explore and develop ideas in a risk-free digital format that requires no physical materials.

The Challenge

Anarkik3D would like to explore the potential of VR to enhance their haptic 3D modelling programme. Their challenge is to combine their Anarkik3DDesign software with VR technology and create an interface that provides users with a more immersive experience, incorporating grounded force feedback technology with stereo 3D vision.

Anarkik3D Workshop, Belfast, 2019

Finding a solution to this challenge would enable Anarkik3D to offer an affordable haptic VR product that could be used by artists, designers and makers that do not have access to or resources to purchase some of the current high cost haptic VR offerings (e.g. haptic gloves).



This would be a significant step forward for the company, enabling them to demonstrate the advantages of using grounded haptics in VR and opening up the potential for new business partnerships and collaborations within the creative sector.

They envisage this new experience incorporating the Falcon haptic device, which offers interaction via its handle with the single point of the cursor, generating force feedback to simulate ‘touching and feeling’ the material properties given to virtual objects: solidity and form, hardness, softness and smoothness, however, they would welcome alternative solutions, provided the end result remains affordable for users.

Technical Information

Anarkik3D holds all digital data as source code for their haptic 3D modelling software, including the driver for Novint’s Falcon haptic device, coded into the Cloud9 software. Their haptic development platform, AFrame, was upgraded in 2017 when Cloud9 was technically ready for porting to Oculus Rift DK2 VR tech (now obsolete although the Rift is still potentially compatible with AFrame).

As one of four Touchable Universe (TU) directors, a haptics company formed in 2017, Ann Marie Shillito has access to TU’s ‘Wilderspin’ platform which is VR-proven, based on older unsupported drivers and hardware (OSVR and Oculus Rift DK2). The drivers need to be refreshed to work with modern hardware, which is the same for Cloud 9.

Cloud9 uses open source OGRE Graphics engine which now has VR capability (OGRE3D rendering engine – useful for developing a user interface). Ogre has an OSVR plugin which works in Wilderspin.

Applications for this Challenge Project are now closed. If you have any questions please contact our team at creativeinformatics@ed.ac.uk.


If you are interested in responding to this challenge please contact the Creative Informatics team.

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