From academia to industry: Application of vibrotactile technology

Workshop at the World Haptics Conference 2023, Delft, Netherlands

July 10th, 2023

Organizers : Müge Cavdan & Knut Drewing


This workshop brings together experts from academia to industry, who show how vibrotactile and haptic feedback technology can be applied in a wide area of different use cases

In the last couple of decades, with the technological advances, haptic feedback, particularly vibrotactual actuation has started gaining greater value in our everyday life. Several electronic devices currently have a vibrotaction function. Vibrotaction, however, often only serves to notify the user about some events. Yet, potential uses of vibrotactile technology can be much more diverse. This workshop brings together experts from academia to industry, who show how vibrotactile and haptic feedback technology can be applied in a wide area of different use cases, and what are the key factors and the trends in its application. Selected demonstrations will complement the talks and discussions. Invited speakers made novel contributions to the understanding of vibrotactile perception and its’ use in diverse areas. The role of vibrotactile technology and haptic feedback will be examined in the scope of sports, time perception, automotive industry, gamification, air vehicles, and augmented and virtual reality. 



13.30 – 13.40: Welcoming and workshop introduction

13.40 – 14.00: Yasemin Vardar - Artificial Touch in the Wild: Exploring the Complexities of Generating Perceivable Tactile Stimulus 

14.00 – 14.20: Jörg Reisinger - Haptic samples - from science to series – some key factors

14:20 – 14.40: Katherine J. Kuchenbecker - Naturalistic Vibrotactile Cues Enrich Haptic Interactions 

14:40 – 15:00: Angelika Mader - Haptic feedback in sports

15.00 – 15.40: Coffee break & Demo session

15.40 – 16.00: Knut Drewing - Modulating time perception through haptic wearables 

16.00 – 16.20: Elisa Santella - Gamification & Haptics Trends in Automotive HMIs 

16:20 – 16.40: Chase Thymms - Perceptually-based design of vibrotactile haptic buttons

16.40 – 17.00: Discussion & Concluding remarks


The Speakers

Katherine Kuchenbecker

Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems

Jörg Reisinger

Mercedes Benz

Angelika Mader

University of Twente

Chase Tymms 

Meta Reality Labs Research

Yasemin Vardar

Delft University of Technology

Elisa Santella 


Knut Drewing

Giessen University


Talk Abstracts

Naturalistic Vibrotactile Cues Enrich Haptic Interactions
Katherine Kuchenbecker - Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems

Tool-based haptic interactions with remote and virtual objects often feel soft and imprecise because they lack the naturalistic vibrotactile cues we experience during real physical contact. Interestingly, the human sense of touch is asymmetric, able to generate motions only up to a few Hz while feeling broad-bandwidth vibrations up to 1000 Hz. Thus, there is often great benefit in providing users of haptic interfaces with appropriate naturalistic vibrotactile cues. My team has been working on aspects of this research topic since I myself was a doctoral student. In one thread of work, we use a high-bandwidth three-axis accelerometer to measure the vibrations of a remotely controlled robot and a high-bandwidth single-axis actuator to present these vibrations to the operator in real time. Another research thrust simply records such vibrations along with video and audio of the interaction for use in assessing and/or teaching manual skills. Finally, we also pioneered methods for capturing, modeling, and rendering hard contacts and especially textures to create highly realistic virtual surfaces.

Haptic samples - from science to series – some key factors
Jörg Reisinger - Mercedes Benz
Bringing haptic technologies from science to series requires considering many aspects beyond the basic haptic principles. Haptic feedback is an unconscious perception channel, the customer is becoming aware of - at all - when it is missing. That why, haptic quality and a uniform and intuitive integration into the holistic User Experience is one key to convince stakeholders and customers. Compared to visual or acoustic displays, the haptic displays are slowly following and often seen as a nice-to-have-gadget where unfortunately commercial discussions decide about a go or no-go. Many products were put into market by Mercedes-Benz, starting from passive controls up to high-sophisticated touch-input devices. Producing hundreds of thousands or even millions of devices, is requiring a high production quality as well as clear haptic-based technical definitions to elaborate relevant tolerance ranges for keeping the high haptic quality across the whole production. A lot of obviously simple things need to be considered, boundary conditions, laws and guidelines need to be considered or kept as well as. The key points of the development of selected products in market are discussed, to give an understanding of the challenging trail from haptic science to serial products in the market.

Haptic feedback in sports
Angelika Mader - Universtiy of Twente
The potential of real-time haptic feedback in sports lies in the possibility that sporters can more efficiently improve their technique, when receiving immediate feedback during practice. This is especially useful when a coach could give feedback only later, or sporters are training alone. We conducted a number of students’ projects in which we investigated haptic feedback for different disciplines with the focus of improvement being primarily on posture and correct movements. The parameters that were considered were the location of the haptic feedback on the body, the intensity and pattern, the timing, and also metaphors for interpretation of the haptic stimuli. Despite the fact that in all experiments the number of participants was small, there are a number of lessons that can be learnt about the design space for haptic feedback in sports. We will report on our key findings and discuss open questions.

Perceptually-based design of vibrotactile haptic buttons
Chase Tymms - Meta

As touch screens and augmented reality interfaces become more ubiquitous, the tactile feedback of a physical button click is often missed. When haptic feedback is available, options are often limited due to hardware constraints and the difficulty of designing haptic effects. In this talk, I describe a process for the systematic design of a set of perceptually varying virtual tactile buttons, which are rendered via vibrotactile feedback delivered on the back of the finger. We utilized AEPsych, a framework for adaptive experimentation and modeling in psychophysics, to collect user data and model the relationship between waveform signal characteristics and perceived qualities. Using constrained optimization to target values in the resulting models, we developed a grid of virtual button-press effects, which are parameterized perceptually according to multiple orthogonal characteristics.

Artificial Touch in the Wild: Exploring the Complexities of Generating Perceivable Tactile Stimulus
Yasemin Vardar - Delft University of Technology

Have you ever experienced that a strong artificial tactile stimulus that you perceived one day vanishes in another? Ideally, a haptic device should provide a consistent touch experience to its users independent of changing conditions. In this talk, I will first explain how variable conditions (e.g., user interaction, contact, environmental) can influence the perception of tactile stimuli created via electrostatic surface haptic displays. Then, I will discuss mitigating these factors to generate consistent touch sensations for future haptic technology in real-world applications, such as cockpits for ground, air, and water vehicles.

Gamification & Haptics Trends in Automotive HMIs
Elisa Santella - Grewus 

The evolution of connected and autonomous driving cars continues really fast. But user interfaces need to be intuitive. They have to be multi-modal. Reconciling safety with connectivity is a crucial challenge driving the development of next-generation vehicle HMIs. Improve the HMI experience for the driver and provide more possibilities to configure the car according to the requirements. Understanding and preparing for cabin experience as a new opportunity for differentiation. Tune the car's HMI dynamically to make it safer and more convenient for the driver. Furthermore, in-car entertainment, gamification, and working will create a better experience. Let's discuss the "cockpit of the future" and how we can achieve faster results through partnerships across multiple disciplines. These topics and disciplines were brought together during the interACTIVE HAPTICS conference in Hamburg in June 2023. The lecture will also present a summary of the HMI Automotive Trends.

Modulating time perception through haptic wearables 
Knut Drewing - Giessen University

Time has an important role in human life. When we are extremely busy and in stressful situations, we might experience a lack of time, provoking even more stress. In contrasts, when we are bored, time can feel stretched yielding the danger of lapses. Within the ChronoPilot project we utilize the malleability of time perception by developing technology to extend or compress time whenever required. As a part of this enterprise, we developed a multimodal haptic vest and gauntlets that can deliver vibrotaction, tapping and warmth to different body locations. Utilizing mechanisms of attention allocation, affective state regulation or multisensory integration, we aim to modulate the subjective time of the user. In the talk I will outline our approaches to extend or compress time perception via haptic stimulation at torso and forearms and summarize first results on successful time modulation through key variables.