The RE Touch Lab is directed by Prof. Yon Visell, is part of the Media Arts and Technology ProgramDepartment of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Department of Mechanical Engineering at UCSB. The lab is based in the California NanoSystems Institute and is affiliated with the Communication and Signal Processing group in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and with the Dynamic Systems, Control, and Robotics group in the Department of Mechanical Engineering.

We are investigating new engineering principles and developing tools that will allow us realize haptic and robotic 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 apply technologies developed in these areas to address challenges in haptics, VR, robotics, healthcare and medicine, such as the detection of type II diabetes, or sensorimotor rehabilitation.  Our group draws on expertise in electrical and computer engineering, signal processing, neuroscience, art, design, and robotics.  

In short, we create novel haptic devices and systems for simulating the feel of touched objects, and use these devices to creatively 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.  

We hold lab meetings about every week.  Interested in joining the lab? Join us at a lab meeting or read some of our papers and contact us. Engineers, scientists, artists, and designers are all welcome. 

UCSB Engineering is renowned for its research excellence.  Engineering faculty members include three Nobel Laureates, 29 members of the National Academy of Engineering, 7 fellows of the National Academy of Inventors, numerous IEEE Fellows, and winners of the Guggenheim Fellowship, Prix Ars Electronica, and Google Faculty Research Award, among many other accolades.  UCSB is ranked the #1 public university in the world for engineering research citation impact (Leiden, 2015, 2016). All of our graduate research programs were ranked in the top 5 for their disciplines (NRC, 2010). Our Materials graduate program is ranked in the top 3 in the nation among all universities (US News, 2016, and NRC), and our Chemical Engineering program is consistently ranked in the top 5. 


UCSB Campus at the edge of the Pacific Ocean

California NanoSystems Institute, home of the RE Touch Lab