We explore haptics, robotics, and interactive technologies. Our work is inspired by capabilities of humans and other animals. We design haptic devices, create soft or wearable robots, investigate new material technologies, advance applications in VR and health, and explore the human mind.  

The lab is directed by Prof. Yon Visell. Visell is active in transdisciplinary research intersecting haptics, soft robotics, signals and acoustics. He is General Co-Chair for IEEE Haptics Symposium 2020, the longest running haptics conference. He has held positions at UCSB, and a host of other science, art, and engineering institutions and companies in North America and Europe, including as DSP developer at Ableton. More about Visell in his bio

Our lab includes an inspiring group of engineers, artists, and scientists. It is part of the Media Arts and Technology Program, Departments of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Mechanical Engineering at UCSB. We are based in the California NanoSystems Institute, affiliated with the Communication and Signal Processing group in the Department of ECE and with the Dynamic Systems, Control, and Robotics in the Department of ME. The lab is affiliated with the Center for Polymers and Organic Solids, the UCSB Research Center for Virtual Environments and Behavior, and with the UCSB Robotics Group. The lab has received two best paper awards and a half dozen best paper nominations at IEEE Haptics Symposium, the longest-running conference in the field.

Selected Recent Publications (see Full list or Google Scholar)

M. Zhu, T. N. Do, E. W. Hawkes, Y. Visell, Fluidic Fabric Muscle Sheets for Wearable and Soft Robotics.
arxiv.org:1903.08253 (cs.RO), Preprint, 2019.

S. Biswas, Y. Visell, Emerging Materials Technologies for Haptics [PDF].
Advanced Materials Technologies, To Appear, 2019.  

B. Dandu, Y. Shao, A. Stanley, Y. Visell, Spatiotemporal Haptic Effects from a Single Actuator via Spectral Control of Cutaneous Wave Propagation. Proc. IEEE World Haptics Conference, To Appear, 2019.

G. Reardon, Y. Shao, B. Dandu, W. Frier, B. Long, O. Georgiou, Y. Visell, Cutaneous Wave Propagation Shapes Tactile Motion: Evidence from Air-Coupled Ultrasound. Proc. IEEE World Haptics Conference, To Appear, 2019.

A. Kawazoe, M. Di Luca, Y. Visell, Tactile Echoes: A Wearable System for Tactile Augmentation of Objects.
Proc. IEEE World Haptics Conference, To Appear, 2019.

Y. Shao, V. Hayward, Y. Visell, Spatial Patterns of Cutaneous Vibration During Whole-Hand Haptic Interactions [PDF+SI]
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 113 (15), 2016.

T. N. Do, H. Phan, T.-Q. Nguyen, and Y. Visell,  Miniature Soft Electromagnetic Actuators for Robotic Applications [PDF+SI].
Advanced Functional Materials, 2018. Cover article. 

S. Patwardhan, A. Kawazoe, D. Kerr, M. Nakatani, Y. Visell, Dynamics and Perception in the Thermal Grill Illusion [PDF].
IEEE Transactions on Haptics, To Appear, 2019.

B. Dandu, I. Kuling, Y. Visell, Proprioceptive Localization of the Fingers: Coarse, Biased, and Context-Sensitive.
IEEE Transactions on Haptics, To Appear, 2019.

B. Khojasteh, M. Janko, Y. Visell, Complexity, rate, and scale in sliding friction dynamics between a finger and textured surface.  
Nature Scientific Reports 8 (13710), 2018. 

M. Janko, M. Wiertlewski, Y. Visell, Contact geometry and mechanics predict friction forces during tactile surface exploration
Nature Scientific Reports, 8 (4868), 2018.

B. Li, Y. Shi, A. K. Fontecchio, Y. Visell, Mechanical Imaging of Soft Tissues with a Highly Compliant Tactile Sensing Array [PDF].  
IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering, 65 (3), 2018.  

T. N. Do, Y. Visell, Stretchable, Twisted Conductive Microtubules for Wearable Computing, Robotics, Electronics, and Healthcare [PDF].
Nature Scientific Reports 7 (1753), 2017.

H. Wolfe, M. Peljhan, Y. Visell, Singing Robots: How Embodiment Affects Emotional Responses to Non-linguistic Utterances [PDF]
IEEE Transactions on Affective Computing, To Appear, 2018.

B. Li, A. K. Fontecchio, Y. Visell, Mutual capacitance of liquid conductors in deformable tactile sensing arrays [PDF]
Applied Physics Letters 108, 2016.

The lab has been generously supported through grants from the National Science Foundation, tech, VR and healthcare industries. We enjoy collaboration and encourage interested parties to contact Prof. Visell.

We hold lab meetings about every week.  Interested in working with us? Stop by a lab meeting or read some of our papers and contact us. Engineers, scientists, artists, and designers are all welcome. 

UCSB is an outstanding place to work, and College of Engineering is renowned for its research excellence.  Engineering faculty members include three Nobel Laureates, 37 members of the National Academies of Engineering or Invention, numerous IEEE Fellows and other awards. UCSB was ranked the #1 public university in the world for engineering research citation impact (Leiden, 2015, 2016), and ranked #9 in the world for producing Nobel laureates (Times Higher Education, 2017).  Our Electrical and Computer Engineering and Mechanical Engineering graduate programs ranked in the top 5 in the most recent US National Research Council ratings, and our Materials and Chemical Engineering graduate programs consistently rank among the top 5 in the US (US News and NRC).


California NanoSystems Institute, home of the RE Touch Lab

UCSB Campus at the edge of the Pacific Ocean

Santa Barbara is a hub for high technology and innovative startups, with one of the highest levels of venture capital investment per capita in the United States.  A very incomplete sampling of companies in and near Santa Barbara: Sonos, FLIR, SpaceX, TrackR, Cree, Biopac, Medtronic, InTouch Health (telemedicine / robotics), Productive Robotics, Raytheon, AppFolio, Moog, LogMeIn, Yardi, Zoom, Toyon, L3, Curvature, Eucalyptus (cloud computing), Inogen, bioIQ, Advanced Scientific Concepts (Lidar), Milo, NuSil, Spectron Microsystems, Channel Technologies Group / Piezo Kinetics, Crystalline Mirror Solutions, Freedom Photonics, Owl Biomedical, WorldViz (VR), D2 Technologies, SORAA (solid state lighting / lasers), Apeel Sciences, and many, many others.