Yon Visell, PhD - Principal Investigator

From the science of touch to new haptic technologies

Browse our recent projects

Human haptic interaction

How are touch perception and movement enabled through specializations in the body and nervous system?

In our lab, we study mechanisms underlying haptic perception and action, and the neuroscientific and biomechanical basis of touch. Our long-term goal is to uncover the biological (neural and mechanical) computations that enable haptic interaction, when movement-dependent sensory signals are concurrently available via multiple perceptual channels.  

We conduct theoretical and behavioral studies of haptic perception to illuminate contributions of different mechanical cues and motor behaviors.  We aim to develop novel hypotheses about how real haptic objects are perceived, and how they can be simulated with new technologies.  


Haptics and robotics

How can we employ new technologies to enable people to interact with objects in the digital world as seamlessly as they do in the real world?  

We create novel haptic devices capable of delivering precise mechanical stimuli to the skin, inspired by new findings on touch perception. We use these devices to unravel contributions of different stimuli to the sense of touch.  

We also develop interfaces for the use of touch feedback in robotics, human-computer interaction, mobile computing, virtual reality, and wearable computing, and  new techniques for interacting via the sense of touch in specific domains, such as touch surface computing or biomedical simulation.


Mechanics and perception

What are the basic mechanical stimuli that give rise to touch sensations like shape, softness, or texture, and how can they be simulated? 

Our work addresses the theoretical and computational modeling of complex contact mechanical interactions underlying touch, like fracture, biomedical tissue cutting, and friction.

We are developing physical models  of mechanical interactions of complex objects, materials and contact conditions. We use these models to understand how people perceive the environment via touch, and to design new techniques for haptic rendering of virtual objects and environments