The 2019 World Haptics Conference solicits proposals for workshops/tutorials, to be held on AM July 9, 2019, preceding the full conference. For more detail, please visit here.

All workshops will be held on AM July 9, 2019.
The program detail will be open around April 31, 2019.

W1: The Neuroscience of Touch: From finger skin deformation to perception

Place: Hall S (2F)

Web page

Jean-Louis Thonnard University of Louvain Belgium
Vincent Hayward Sorbonne Université Actronika SAS France
Cagatay Basdogan Koc University Istanbul Turkey


For a mechanical deformation of the skin to become a conscious percept it must first be encoded by the peripheral nervous terminations in the fingers the mechanoreceptors. The nature of the object the complex geometry and mechanics of the skin and the mechanoreceptors location and innervation patterns shape the encoded tactile signals. These signals then travel along the nerves ascend the spinal cord and are processed by multiple brain structures including the brainstem nuclei and thalamus before reaching primary cortical areas implementing numerous recurrent networks. Those networks extract relevant features to culminate in shape size weight pleasantness and slippery percepts. Therefore a sensory signal originating from the skin mechanoreceptors must travel across a series of neural structures before being felt as an object existing outside the body. The goal of this workshop is to gather a panel of experts who have brought novel insights on the connection between fingertip mechanics and tactile perception.

W2: Toward quantifying the physical cues and dimensions that underlie our haptic perception of soft materials

Place: Room B (1F)

Web page

Gregory Gerling Ph.D. University of Virginia USA
Cagatay Basdogan Ph.D. Koc University Turkey


We interact with soft objects on a daily basis for example in touching the arm of a friend to offer comfort or judging the ripeness of fruit. In more specialized environments physicians may seek to distinguish tissue and ducts from fat and bone. To design devices that replicate naturalistic interactions of this sort research is needed to tease apart the physical cues that convey an object’s mechanical properties. In particular we need to understand the number of dimensions their transformations from physical to perceptual space and whether they are perceptually integral or separable. Indeed one major task itself is to define which dimensions underlie what is commonly called softness. Soft might refer to an object’s compliance and also its viscoelasticity viscosity and other associated features such as fuzziness and grittiness. Judgments are also likely dependent on one’s previous experiences the context of the current experience and whether the object is actively manipulated or passively contacted. This workshop will cover state of the art in this very important field of haptics though a series of talks by experts. It will also review prior work including foundational psychophysical and neurophysiological studies. The talks will touch upon topics tied to cognition and memory active exploration contact interaction skin mechanics neural mechanisms social and emotional factors and how findings from such studies form the basis for the design of current and future devices.

W3: Perception & Engineering researchers: learning how to work together to build hand-based wearable haptic devices

Place: Room C (1F)

Max Di Luca Facebook Reality Labs University of Birmingham
Nicholas Colonnese Facebook Reality Labs
Femke van Beek Facebook Reality Labs
Séréna Bochereau Facebook Reality Labs


Bridging the gap between engineering haptic devices and haptic perception science can be challenging. Engineers generally try to create haptic devices and software that outperform previous ones while perception scientists tend to use such devices to create a sensations that can be studied. But the two classes of researchers often do so independently with little information exchange. To make more than incremental changes to the devices and the understanding of perception researchers from the two fields need to work together providing information to each other and creating a positive feedback loop. In such a way device design and scientific understanding of haptic phenomena can progress at ever-increasing pace. But to do this a common language needs to be created and information should flow in the two directions.

W4: Haptics for human augmentation and superhuman sports

Place: Hall N (2F)

Web page

Troy McDaniel Arizona State University USA
Kouta Minamizawa Keio University Japan
Kai Kunze Keio University Japan
Yuichi Kurita Hiroshima University Japan
Ramin Tadayon Hiroshima University Japan


Haptics is an interdisciplinary field exploring the science of touch and technology. While still in its infancy the last decade has shown tremendous interest advancement and commercial potential. At the same time there’s a significant interest in augmenting and expanding of our senses and abilities. It is therefore timely to explore the intersection of haptics and human augmentation. Preliminary explorations include vibrotactile compass belts that give users a new “sense” of direction; soft “muscles” that increase strength and reduce fatigue; and electrotactile devices that build new balance systems in the brain for those with vestibular damage. While much effort for human augmentation has been applied toward rehabilitative and assistive purposes augmentation need not restrict itself to disability; instead when viewed in the general sense as “augmenting human ability” haptic technology is applicable in a broader range of areas. If we consider ability as a spectrum haptic technology for human augmentation provides gains in ability regardless of where a user falls within this spectrum whether we are enhancing “disability” to “ability” or “ability” to “super-ability”. Sports is one of the best application areas of human augmentation. As a child have you ever dreamed of having superpowers: flying through the air being invisible or climbing straight up walls? During childhood we often role-play and pretend we have superpowers. Motivated by these episodes this workshop brings together experts from a variety of computing and engineering disciplines focusing on how we might use AR/VR and other augmentation technologies to make some of these powers a reality. With Superhuman Sports we want to create an application area to explore AR/VR technologies to enhance human abilities in a playful way. The field of superhuman sports combines competition and physical elements from traditional sports with technology to overcome the somatic and spatial limitations of our human bodies. The focus is on improving cognitive and physical functions of the human body creating artificial senses and reflexes to participate in sports competitions creating and exploring new experiences with these novel senses and reflexes by augmenting old sports designing new sports enhancing the training and sharing with the audience locally and remotely.

W5: Affective Haptics as a Direct Link to Emotion

Place: Room A (1F)

Web page

Hiroyuki Shinoda The University of Tokyo Japan


Affective support by haptics is one of the emerging needs. The term affective haptics here includes technologies that change/motivate the human behavior using the emotional effect. People use the modality of haptics to control the emotion. Skin-ship to children is acknowledged to be indispensable for the healthy growth of the children. Massage can reduce the stress and a nurse in a hospital touches a patient’s back to relax the patient in various treatments. There seem some direct and strong links from the haptic perception to brainstem which can control hormones and neurotransmitters as oxytocin endorphin or dopamine. But the links are still practical wisdoms in many cases and not approached scientifically. Recent haptic technologies are making it possible to provide haptic stimulation in daily life. Various wearable devices can produce whole body stimulation and midair device can create comfortable feeling on a skin. Machine learning technology enables such physical stimuli to be incorporated in the feedback loop of the active human motion in various contexts. These technologies are effective tools to study and utilize the link between haptics and emotion. The core problem is the link from haptics to brainstem and it is an uncultivated area in science. Technological mental support and encouragement are recent strong needs of people. The approach is not limited to analytical ones based on physiological indicators. Synthetic approach (design approach) is also a practical and effective way. Finding good examples that attract people move emotions and lead mental improvements assists the understanding and facilitates the applications. In this workshop we discuss this theme from the viewpoints of technologies brain sciences informatics and industrial applications.