Last year at the inaugural Smart Haptics, I made a prediction: it’s gonna explode! I argued that interface modalities “explode” into pervasiveness only when they offer designers unfettered creative freedom. Witness the GUI, the touchscreen, and more recently, the voice assistant. What about haptics? Whereas today we tend to worry a lot about how to make a nice button click (and do it on the cheap), mark my words: vastly greater creative freedom is on the way. After all, the component technologies are expanding and maturing: force and pressure sensing, localized vibration, surface haptics, thermal, and so on. The types of haptic experiences it is possible to create today far outstrip those from even a few years ago.
Yet, it will take a lot more than component technologies. In this talk, I’ll ask the question: what pieces – technology, infrastructure, training and culture – are needed to unleash the creativity of tomorrow’s haptic designer? I’ll take a stab at answering that question, and then go on to assess the state of those pieces in both the commercial and academic worlds. My hope is that, in doing this, I’ll give the audience a little deeper insight into when, realistically, it’s gonna explode!