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IC@L Distinguished Speaker

Title: HowTo Haptic: Supporting Design of Haptic Interactions

Date/Time: Mar. 7, 11:00-12:00

Location: Senate Chamber, Ross N940

Abstract: Today’s advances in tactile sensing and wearable, IOT and context-aware computing are spurring new ideas about  how to configure touch-centered interactions in terms of roles and utility, which in turn expose new technical and social design questions.  But while haptic actuation, sensing and control are improving, incorporating them into a real-world design process is extremely difficult and poses a major obstacle to adoption into everyday technology.

In this talk I’ll focus on how my group has approached research into viable roles and design languages for physical communication by digging into a few divergent examples. Recently, these include:

  • affective physical human robot interaction: e.g. raising an interactive agent’s physically expressed ‘emotional intelligence’ by exploiting low-cost, stretchy touch sensing and dynamic pattern recognition, and easily-evolved and programmed mechanical platforms, where motion input and evaluation of its expressivity are tricky;
  • case study observations of novice and expert haptic designers (e.g., while building a haptic learning environment) to establish their challenges and needs.

The broader question is how to support design. I’ll describe how we’ve built what we’ve learned about users’ cognitive and expressive frameworks from this and other research into a multitude of guidelines, tools and DIY systems, all available online, and our plans to push this into a broader openhaptics effort.

Karon MacLean

Karon MacLean is Professor in Computer Science at UBC, with degrees in Biology and Mechanical Engineering (BSc, Stanford; M.Sc. / Ph.D, MIT) and and time spent as a professional robotics engineer (Center for Engineering Design, University of Utah) and haptics / interaction researcher (Interval Research, Palo Alto).  At UBC since 2000, MacLean’s research specializes in haptic (touch) interaction: cognitive, sensory and affective design for people interacting with the computation we touch, emote and move with and learn from, from robots to touchscreens and the situated environment.  MacLean leads UBC’s Designing for People interdisciplinary research cluster and CREATE graduate training program (20 researchers spanning 8 departments and 4 faculties – dfp.ubc.ca), and is Special Advisor, Innovation and Knowledge Mobilization to UBC’s Faculty of Science.

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