Yon Visell, Ph.D.


Assistant Professor – UC Santa Barbara

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Media Arts and Technology Graduate Program

Mechanical Engineering (by courtesy)

Elings Hall, California NanoSystems Inst, Room 2213

Phone: 805 893 8352

yonvisell . at . ece.ucsb.edu


Dr. Visell directs the RE Touch Lab, leading fundamental and applied research on the future of interactive technologies.  His research involves haptic device engineering, robotics, electronics design, and haptic (touch) perception, motivated by emerging opportunities in human-computer interaction, sensorimotor augmentation, soft robotics, and interaction in virtual reality. It has been supported by grants from the National Science Foundation and others. He has published more than 60 scientific works, has edited two books on VR, and is the recipient of multiple best paper awards at major haptics conferences.

Dr. Visell is Assistant Professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Media Arts & Technology Graduate Program, and Department of Mechanical Engineering (by courtesy). Trained in engineering and physics, he received the PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering from McGill University in 2011, working with Prof. Jeremy Cooperstock on haptics and virtual reality technologies.  From 2011-2012, he undertook postdoctoral research on haptics with Prof. Vincent Hayward at Université Pierre et Marie Curie in Paris, France. Prior to joining UCSB, he served as Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Drexel University (2013-2015) in Philadelphia, PA.  He received the MA and BA degrees in Physics from The University of Texas, Austin and Wesleyan University respectively. 

Dr. Visell spent more than five years in industrial R&D at leading technology companies. He was the lead DSP developer at Ableton, where he contributed iconic audio processing algorithms to award-winning music software that is used worldwide. He performed speech recognition R&D at Vocal Point Inc., now part of Nuance (makers of the Siri voice assistant), and sonar R&D at ARL Austin.  He worked in interactive art and design at FoAM, Belgium, at the Interaction Design Institute Ivrea, and at the art-architecture-technology non profit Zero-Th, which he co-founded in 2005. His creative works have exhibited at prominent cultural venues around the world, including the Centre Pompidou (Paris, France), SIGGRAPH (New Orleans, LA), Phaeno Science Center (Wolfsburg, Germany), and the Biennale of Design St.-Etienne (St. Etienne, France).

Dr. Visell has served as an expert consultant to industry and in intellectual property matters, including testimony before the International Trade Commission.