Haptics

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Haptic feedback (supporting the touch modality) is often taken for granted in real life but it is still not common when interacting with computers. If you interact with an object by using a haptic device that is available today you can feel the qualities of the material of the graphical object, like softness, texture, weight, or viscosity. Magnetism and pulling forces can also be represented and felt physically. Haptic feedback thus makes it possible to feel graphical objects as if they were real physical objects and that makes the objects easier to manipulate. In this course the theoretical framework for haptic perception and cognition is presented. Methods for design and evaluation of different haptic interfaces as well as other tactile interaction methods are described. Application areas that are relevant for haptic technology are reviewed, like for example computer games, computer support for collaboration, scientific visualization, and medical simulation. Students will learn how to design and program their own applications in laboratory assignments and a larger project, with different haptic devices.

This is an advanced course in human-computer interaction about methods for design, development and evaluation of haptic and tactile interfaces in different application areas such as computer games, computer supported collaboration, scientific visualization, medical simulation, and assistive technology.

The frontline research results regarding human touch perception is presented as well as how the human brain processes these perceptual events cognitively. An interesting question is how humans can use more of the brain capacity when interacting with computers if more modalities than vision can be utilized.

Guidelines for how haptic interfaces should be designed are presented in the course and students practise to use these in the project and during laboratory sessions. In the projects, HCI-methodologies are applied in innovative ways in order to evaluate haptic interfaces.

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