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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Modeling and Utilization of MagnetoRheological Fluids to Virtual Reality

  • Author(s): Serrahima de Cambra, Josep Maria
  • Advisor(s): Washington, Gregory N
  • Ahmadkhanlou, Farzad
  • et al.
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License
Abstract

Smart materials are materials that can significantly vary one or more of their properties when an external input is applied. Magnetorheological (MR) fluids are one of these materials as they change their apparent yield stress, which exhibits the behavior of changing from a fluid to a semi-solid as the magnetic field is increased. The fluid is made from ferrous (magnetizable) microparticles suspended in a carrier fluid (usually oil). When a magnetic field is applied, the particles align with the field. Using this phenomenon, linear dampers have been studied and developed. This thesis has two different parts. On the first part a MR fluid sponge-based damper is designed, built and tested. The results of the tests are discussed in detail, focusing on the forces needed to move the damper for different electrical currents applied: the higher the electric current is, the larger the force needed to move the damper. The second part of the thesis involves the use of this damper as a controller to a Virtual Reality game. The game is created using the programming environment Unity, and controlled using a hardware in the loop system employing data acquisition boards, sensors and a Simulink model. The damper works as controller for the game, since the user receives a force feedback, as the force needed to move the damper depends on the position of the player on the game.

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