The RE Touch Lab is directed by Prof. Yon Visell, is part of the Departments of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Media Arts and Technology and Mechanical Engineering at UCSB, and is based in the California NanoSystems Institute.
We are investigating new engineering principles and developing tools that will allow us realize robotic and human-machine systems that reflect the astounding capabilities of biological organisms. A central focus of this work is to develop theoretical and empirical knowledge needed to guide the design of electronic technologies that can efficiently and noninvasively interface with the sensorimotor capacities of the human body, especially with the sense of touch. A further aim is to create mechanically resilient, soft robotic systems that can operate in physical regimes, length, and time scales that have been heretofore impossible. We seek to apply technologies developed in these areas in order to address challenges in healthcare and medicine, such as early detection of type II diabetes or sensorimotor rehabilitation. Our group draws on a diverse mix of expertise in electrical engineering, signal processing, neuroscience, and robotics.
In short, 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 tactile sensing and feedback in robotics, virtual reality, and biomedical applications, and theoretically and empirically investigate the mechanical and behavioral bases of perception and action.