“Designing for touch: from cuddly robots to tactile design tools and end-user personalization”

The Sensory Perception and Interaction Research Group
Dept. of Computer Science, UBC

January 27, 2016


Link to Presentation Video

Laura Cang,
MSc Student:

Abstract: As social agents, touch is a very powerful modality for communicating complicated content. Most of this information is highly nuanced, context dependent and difficult to explicitly detect. The 2 key elements of the affective interaction loop crucial to socializing human-robot interactions are identified: machine recognition of human emotional state through touch; and human interpretation of robot expression of emotion. This talk highlights the SPIN lab’s contribution and towards enhancing the human and social robot relationship.

Bio: Laura Cang is a Computer Science MSc student working with Prof Karon MacLean’s at the University of British Columbia. Her interest in social robotics and touch interaction brought her to the Sensory Perception and Interaction (SPIN) lab to improve on the touch sensing capabilities of the CuddleBot - a cat sized robot designed for therapeutic use.  Her work developing machine recognition and interpretation of social touch behaviour has been published in HRI and ICMI.

Oliver Schneider,
PhD Candidate

Abstract: Haptic technology is increasingly powerful yet nowhere to be seen. Despite commercial devices like the Pebble and Apple Watch having advanced actuators and a considerable amount of design and engineering expertise, there remains very little haptics in user experiences. Why is this so? Part of the problem can be traced to a dearth of content and significant barriers to design. In this talk, we present three design tools we’ve developed, each with a different paradigm: mHIVE, a haptic instrument; Mango, a tactile animation tool; and Macaron, an online track-based editor.

Bio: Oliver Schneider (Computer Science BSc’10, MSc’12) is a PhD candidate working with Karon MacLean at the University of British Columbia. Drawing inspiration from other fields of design, he builds tools and guidelines for supporting haptic experience design, and combines both quantitative and qualitative methodologies to study the underlying design process. He has also collaborated closely with Disney Research Pittsburgh as a Lab Associate and Research Consultant since 2014. His work has been presented at major haptics and HCI conferences including CHI, UIST, Haptics Symposium, World Haptics, and Asia Haptics. His previous work includes ubiquitous sensing with commercial smartphones, exploring shape-changing mobile phones, and using procedurally generated sound to support workspace awareness in groupware.

Hasti Seifi,
PhD Candidate

Abstract: Today, many users are exposed to vibrotactile sensations through an increasing range of wearable and mobile devices. Supporting personalization of these sensations is a way to leverage the affective qualities of vibrations and satisfy diverse tastes. In this talk, I talk about our progress towards a better understanding of affective qualities of vibrations and end-user personalization. Specifically, I present design and evaluation of a large library of vibrations with various affective qualities, an interactive visualization interface for exploring the library, and our ongoing work on examining end-user personalization with the library.

Bio: Hasti Seifi is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Computer Science at the University of British Columbia and a member of the SPIN Lab, working with Professor Karon MacLean. Previously, she received her Master’s degree in the School of Interactive Arts and Technology at Simon Fraser University. Her research focuses on designing tactile sensations, interfaces and new interactions based on the sense of touch. Tactile evaluation methodology, end-user perception and affect, and personalization are key aspects of her work. She has published in major HCI and Haptics conferences including CHI, World Haptics, Haptics Symposium, Computational Aesthetics, and Graphics Interface.