Force-feedback methanisms have been designed to simplify and enahance the human-vehicle interface. The increase in secondary controls within vehicle cockpits has created a desire for a simpler, more efficient human-vehicle interface. Haptic system, or systems that interact with the operator’s sense of touch, can be used to consolidate various controls into fever, haptic feedback control devices, so that information can be transmitted to the operator and the operator can change control settings without requiring the driver’s visual attention. In this paper an Electro-Rheological Fluid (ERF) based actuator and mechanisms are presented that provide haptic feedback. ERSs are fluids that change their viscosity in response to an electric field. Using the electrically controlled rheological properties of ERFs, haptic devices have been developed that can resist human operator forces in a controlled and tunable fashion. The design of an ERF-based actuator and its application to a haptic knob and haptic joystick is presented. The analytical model is given, analyses are performed, and experimental systems and data are presented for the actuator. Conceptual methods for the application to the haptic devices are presented.

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