The 2015 Joint Eurohaptics Conference and IEEE Haptics Symposium – widely known as WorldHaptics Conference – took place at Northwestern University, Evanston, IL from June 22nd to 25th. Located at the beautiful campus right on Lake Michigan, the conference brought together a lot of the leading haptics researchers from all over the world.
The conference introduced quite a lot of new things: For the first time, a two-track conference took place, as well as the presentation of Work-in-Progress-Papers, i.e. work that is currently pursued by the researchers. For the first time, a student innovation challenge based on the T-Pad phone was introduced at the conference, asking students to develop an app using the possibilities of mobile haptic interaction. You can find introductory videos of the entries on the Student Innovation Challenge Page.
A large focus of the conference was the display of texture properties. While there are a couple of commercially available solutions for displaying surface properties (electro-vibration by Senseg, friction-reduction by Tanvas, direct mechanical stimulation by several companies like midé or Redux), research concentrates on the combination of these principles and the exact modeling of the non-linear contact conditions between human and system.
Several large projects presented results on the conference, starting with the results of the H-Haptics project from the Netherlands. Named for Human-Centered Haptic Interfaces, the project presented the very interesting approach of haptic shared control: The user is assisted by the system in controlling haptic interaction in pre-defined environments. One example included to change the compliance of the master interface for the interaction with stiff but fragile objects. In this case, a force-control task is transferred to a position-controlled task for the user, such easing the interaction with the object. This approach seems to be very interesting for all haptic interactions, where a model of the interaction environment exists.
Furthermore, the Prototouch project showed first results from their work on modeling human perception thoroughly by FEM and other models. Results are expected to gain insights into the neural processing in order to build better prosthetics with haptic feedback.
The conference program including short abstracts can be found at www.haptics2015.org, the conference proceedings are scheduled to be published by IEEE shortly. If you interested in haptics, it’s worth taking the time just going to the interesting sections! And, of course, to attend WorldHaptics, EuroHaptics, AsiaHaptics or the IEEE Haptics Symposium the next time!