Haptics, Soft Robotics

How can we engineer technologies with mechanical and sensing capabilities that resemble those of biological systems? How can we design interactive systems whose capabilities reflect those of the human body? How can we endow robotic systems with the abilities to touch, feel, and manipulate objects in their environments?  

We create novel haptic devices for simulating the feel of touched objects, and use these devices to explore multimodal aspects of touch perception.  

We engineer new technologies for touch sensing and feedback in robotics, virtual reality, and biomedical applications.

Computational perception

What do we feel when we touch and manipulate objects? How does object contact elicit conscious percepts of touch? How is touch perception enabled by the corporeal body and by computations in the brain? How can we design technologies that allow us to touch, feel, and manipulate virtual objects?

We study mechanisms of active touch sensing, including neuroscientific and biomechanical bases of haptic interaction. We conduct experimental and theoretical studies on the contributions of mechanical cues and motor behavior to perception and action, shedding light on how objects are perceived via touch.  

Touch contact interactions

How are the natures of objects and surfaces reflected in what is felt during touch contact?

What is the physical basis of shape, softness, friction, and texture? How can we simulate the feel of virtual objects? 

We address these questions by modeling contact mechanical interactions ranging from soft tissue contact, to material fracture, and rough sliding friction. We use the results to inform models of perception and to design new techniques for haptic rendering of virtual objects and environments.