Over the course of the last 15 years, CHAI3D has grown to become one of the most popular open-source multi-platform haptics simulation frameworks, and has been used in a large number of research and production projects, in such diverse areas as games, simulators, educational software, interactive art, scientific visualization, and medical applications.

Written in C++, CHAI3D has been designed to make it easier and more intuitive for developers to produce applications that combine 3D modeling with force-feedback rendering capabilities. By supporting different types of force-feedback devices, CHAI3D offers a unique interface to easily design and deploy advanced computer haptic solutions.

Haptics Algorithms

CHAI3D combines an extensive number of force rendering algorithms, including the finger-proxy model, potential fields and implicit based models which allow programmers to easily develop sophisticated simulations with integrated force-feedback capabilities.

Graphics Rendering

The CHAI3D framework also provides the necessary data structures required to create multi-level scene-graphs which carry static, dynamic and articulated bodies. A lightweight OpenGL-based graphics engine provides the foundations for easy rendering of virtual environments using dedicated 3D graphic acceleration hardware. Object meshes, implicit shapes, surface materials and texture properties are all represented in well-organized base classes that can easily be extended by the programmer to incorporate more advanced or application-specific features.

3D Models

CHAI3D also provides support for importing and exporting 3D files from professional applications such as Autodesk 3D Studio Max and Alias Wavefront. Support for font files as well as 2D images are included in the framework.

Extension Modules

Support for third party components is achieved through extension modules that independently complement the capabilities of the CHAI3D core elements. Extension modules currently include the ODE, BULLET and GEL dynamics engines for simulating rigid and deformable bodies in real time.

Well documented templates are provided for developers who wish to integrate custom designed haptic display solutions. Thanks to its lightweight and modular architecture, CHAI3D can easily be combined with third party libraries including graphics or dynamics engines.


The CHAI3D framework is currently available for Microsoft Windows, Apple macOS and Linux platforms (32-bit and 64-bit editions).

Force Dimension currently leads the development of CHAI3D for professional applications by providing comprehensive technical support for research institutions and companies who wish to combine CHAI3D with Force Dimension’s family of haptic devices.


CHAI3D can be downloaded from its official website:

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