2018 Smart Haptics Agenda

Smithers is proud to feature the 2018 Smart Haptics agenda! The 2019 agenda is coming soon!

Day 1: December 5th

Registration & Welcome

Registration Opens

  1. Registration

  2. Opening Remarks

    Jena Stout, Conference Producer, Smithers Apex

Session I: Haptics Market, Current and Future Possibilities

Moderator: Jim Holbery, Research Manager, Microsoft

Speakers in this session will explore the vast opportunities for application development in haptic technology.

  1. Introduction to the World of Digital Touch

    J. Edward Colgate | Breed University Design Professor at Northwestern University of Tanvas

    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!

  2. Tactile Speech Communication

    Hong Z. Tan | Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Purdue University of tangerineX

    How much information can be transmitted through touch and at what rate? This talk presents recent results from an ongoing research project aimed at transmitting English words through a tactile sleeve worn on the forearm. Key insights in designing distinctive haptic symbols, mapping all English phonemes to the symbols, and training learners to recognize phonemes and words are highlighted. We show that the best learners can on average learn one word per minute from a word list containing up to 500 English words. The significance of this work goes beyond tactile speech communication and sensory substitution. Imagine a world where touch serves as an additional or alternative channel of communication for people with all levels of sensory capabilities! Much more information can be successfully transmitted through touch than has been attempted in most applications. The challenge is for us to figure out the best ways to convey information through touch.

  3. Haptics Trendspotting

    David Birnbaum | Head of Design Strategy and Outreach of Immersion Corp.

    Now that the word "haptics" has made it to the mainstream vernacular, we are ready for a dramatic scale-up of haptic experiences that matter to people. In the past year, we've seen a marked uptick in adoption of haptics across three industries: automotive, AR/VR, and mobile devices and games. Each in its own stage of haptic adoption. In this session, we will cover the technology readiness of haptic solutions across these industries as well as up and down the technology stack, and provide a high-level overview of haptics in the market.

    In addition, with the haptics in each industry providing its distinct end user value and calling for a different design approach, the session will also cover examples of strong haptic designs and products that have successfully shaped consumer expectations.

  4. Keynote: Haptics at Scale – Advancing Mobile Haptics in Pixel 2 and Android

    Shumin Zhai | Principal Scientist of Google

    In the last decade, the modern touchscreen technology has enabled a transformative mobile-first revolution in the IT and consumer device industries. Whether tapping and swiping on the touch screen alone are sufficient for user-device interaction has been debated continuously, in heated words and in product design actions, since the advent of smartphones. I will reflect on the human factors and product design thinking of what where and when actuated haptics are critical to the total UX of these products and how we derive and apply the design principles from this analysis  in the Pixel phone products in order to lead the Android-based smart device industry away from the buzzy vibrations dating back to the pager and feature phone days. I will also discuss, and challenge the haptics field and industry to help, the design and expansion of Android operating system APIs or abstracted expressions of the type of “Irresistible”, “addictingly good” and “f__ing satisfying” haptic effects appreciated by Pixel 2 and Pixel 3 users so that they are implementable by OEM devices and accessible to software apps at a planet scale.

  5. Networking Break

Session II: Automotive Haptics

Moderator: Chris Ullrich, Vice President, Technology, Immersion

In this session, speakers will examine advancements in automotive haptics, and how they relate to other end use sectors.

  1. Innovation in haptic devices for improved ergonomics

    Vivek (Vik) Sreedhar | Marketing and Technology Manager of Alps Electric

    When ALPS presented at Smart Haptics last year, the focus was on the evolution of haptics. We introduced the history of innovation in haptics for both the automotive and consumer markets.

    This year, the talk will be focused on the latest innovations in haptic devices to improve ergonomics. We will share market and technology trends that are driving the adoption of haptics along with applications in the automotive and consumer markets.

  2. How Sensing and Actuation Technology is Enabling Smarter Smart Surfaces

    Peter Kurstjens | CEO of Aito-Touch

    The automotive industry is heading towards car interiors with seamlessly integrated controls, displays and lighting, all in a unified surface. A high-quality user experience is vital to the success of this transformation.

    In this session, you'll see typical challenges of designing smart surfaces and how to approach them with Aito's sensing and actuation technology. You'll also witness examples of HapticTouch implementation with premium automotive OEMs and Tier 1s.

  3. Lunch Break

Session III: Medical & Educational Haptic Developments

Moderator: Alicia Berry, Social VR Technical Program Manager, Facebook

Haptic development continues to support the medical and educational fields. Speakers in this session will give an in-depth look at haptics capabilities in medical training, surgery, and neuroscience.

  1. AI and Haptics in Health: Bringing Back that Magic Offered in Touch to Medicine!

    Shasha Jumbe, PhD | Co-Founder, Electronics & Data Stack of Context AI

    Current discussion on how Artificial Intelligence is changing healthcare almost always suggests displacement rather than supplementation. AI and grounded virtuality Haptics add great value to better understanding of health, disease and life beyond promised efficiencies from collecting, digitizing, analyzing wellbeing and disease data. Touchsense haptic technology, in routine and specialized medical interventions, may reconnect physicians to their patients— give a little spark of life and remind each patient they are not alone in the brave, new, sterile digital world. In turn, the physician is provided access to novel biophysical data for real time anatomical and diagnostic actionable insights.

    Key Takeaways:

    • Material science, transducer and information technology advances have been harnessed to bring the power of human touch back to the science and art of medicine
    • Grounded virtuality Haptics allow users to immerse themselves in low frequency data, unobserved or discarded by current clinical and consumer wearable devices
    • We have developed a low cost stethohaptic to bring back and democratize the art of auscultation


    • NL Shasha Jumbe, PhD. Co-Founder, Electronics & Data Stack, Context AI
    • Michael Morimoto, PhD., Electronics & Data Science Stack, Context AI
  2. Hacking The Brain With Haptics

    Sarah Hashkes | Co-Founder of Radix Motion

    Which parts of the brain get activated with haptic sensations? How can we combine haptics with other sensory data to induce neural plasticity and increase learning?  and how can we use haptics to get a better understanding of our own body? Sarah will answer these questions and more by sharing parts of her research utilizing the Predictive Coding neuroscience framework. She will also showcase examples of interesting use cases focused on combining haptics in Virtual Reality. 

Session IV: Gaming and AR/VR

Moderator: Nicholas Colonnese, Research Scientist, Oculus

Travel with us as we navigate through the exciting and complex world of haptic technology in AR/VR and Gaming. This session will examine innovations that are changing the gaming landscape, and creating a completely immersive user experience.

  1. Full Body Haptics with Teslasuit

    Dimitri Mikhalchuk | CBDMO and Senior Vice President of Teslasuit

    Abstract to come

  2. StrikerVR

    Martin Holly | VP / Co-Founder of Striker VR

    Coming soon!

  3. Haptics for Location-Based Virtual Reality

    Sinclair Fleming | Lead Engineer of Starbreeze Studios

    Sinclair will discuss the haptic elements of "Hero" that helped it win the Storyscapes award at Tribeca as well as haptics in location-based VR.

  4. Networking Break

Session V: Emerging Application Developments

Moderator: Ed Colgate, Founder and CEO, Tanvas

In the closing session of day one, delegates will hear about some of the newer commercial applications that are changing the way we interact with our devices and clothing.  

  1. Wearable X - The Language of Haptics for the Future of Fitness

    Billie Whitehouse | CEO of Wearable X

    Billie Whitehouse the CEO of Wearable X will be presenting on the language of haptics on the body.

    The company has been focused on integrating haptics in apparel as a way to connect the wearer with what makes them fundamentally human for example intimacy, memory, self awareness and discovery.

    Since the company’s inception Wearable X has built many products for many brands and is now focused on the yoga market with Nadi X, the real technical apparel for yoga. They have specialized in building the language on the body that makes the wearer connect with their posture, movement and the moments in time that are the most important to them. By changing the location, intensity and repetitions of the haptic sensations on the body this language changes. Design is for all 5 senses and touch being one of the most profound and under utilized

  2. The Touch is the Message: Skin as an Interface to our Senses

    Ryan Genz | CEO of CuteCircuit

    “Our senses are not receptors so much as reactors and makers of different modalities of space. Perhaps touch is not just skin contact with things, but the very life of things in the mind.“

    This Marshall McLuhan quote brings into focus the idea of virtual and augmented reality interfaces in the 21st century.

    As we attempt to create multi-sensory stimulation and sensory augmentation to elicit emotional responses our bodies become the interface.

    From the pioneering HugShirt, the world's first haptic telecommunication wearable invented in 2002, to the award winning SoundShirt, the haptic garment that allows deaf people to feel music on their skin, CuteCircuit will highlight the evolution of their wearable haptic products and what the future holds as we integrate these into multi-sensory augmented reality.

    The SoundShirt is currently on show at the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum 'Access+Ability' exhibition, and has been honoured in Fast Company Innovation by Design Awards in three categories: Experimental, Fashion and Beauty, and Social Good.


    • Francesca Rosella, Chief Creative Director & Co-Founder, CuteCircuit
    • Ryan Genz, CEO & Co-Founder, CuteCircuit
  3. Social Touch: Adding a New Layer to Digital Communication

    Gijs Huisman, PhD | Co-Founder of HEY Bracelet

    In all the ways we communicate with each other through digital technologies there’s one very important element missing: touch. Enter: House of Haptics. Bringing a completely new and personal way of communicating with each other over distance. With their first product, the HEY bracelet, a revolutionary wearable device that lets you send a ‘real’ human touch over distance, House of Haptics adds a completely new dimension to digital communication

  4. Haptics at Cannes

    P&G and MediaCom


    Gilat Kat, Regional Communications Planning Director, MediaCom
    Liron Schifter, Gillette Brand Manager, P&G

    This talk will review haptics cases that were entered to the Cannes Advertising festival, including Gillette BabyFace which won a Silver Lion. In addition I will also compare the rate of adoption of Haptics technology compared to other innovative adtech platform like AI, AR, VR, etc. In other words how is haptics doing as an advertising technique compared to other technologies.

  5. Closing Remarks

    Networking Reception & Dinner

Day 2: December 6th


Registration Opens

  1. Registration Opens

  2. Opening Remarks

    Jena Stout, Conference Producer, Smithers Apex

Session VI: Technology Enablers Part I

Moderator: Hong Tan, Founder and CTO, TangerineX

In the opening session of day two, explore how material and component suppliers are supporting the expansion of haptic development, and exciting new opportunities to leverage materials and components to enhance tactile feedback.

  1. Great, Cost Effective Haptics

    Vincent Hayward | Chief Scientific Officer of Actronika SAS

    Actronika lowers the accessibility barrier to great haptics by leveraging 30 years of studies on the human somatosensory function. For example, it’s been known for twenty years that the sensation of haptic depth can be robustly elicited by lateral stimuli, provides that they adhere to certain invariants that our brains have internalised during our development. This knowledge, along with basic facts regarding early neural processing, is transferred to our clients in the form a rich software library that runs on proprietary embedded hardware — Actronika’s Tactronik Platform — or on our client’s to provide haptic feedback that just feels right, in most cases eliminating the need for expensive user experience studies. This library also includes a naive physics engine aimed at satisfying our clients’ requests for sophisticated, dynamic haptic sensations. Actronika can also provide its clients with a suite of very high-performance actuators of different form factors suitable for different markets and that can be licensed or sold.

  2. An Inside look on how Nanoport Technology Stumbled into the Haptics Industry with TacHammer - a new type of Impact-Based Haptic Unit.

    Tim Szeto | CEO and Founder of Nanoport Technology

    • Introduction to Linear Magnetic Rams
    • Discovery - A happy accident
    • How it works
    • Advantages and Disadvantages
    • Creating a protocol for impact haptics
    • Future opportunities
  3. The Application of Smart Materials to Deliver Next Generation Device User Experiences

    Dominic Webber | Marketing Director of Cambridge Mechatronics

    Consumers continue to demand new user experiences from follow-on device models - such as more realistic haptic feedback. All of these need to be delivered without increasing the device size, weight and selling price.

    This combined set of requirements is finding the limits of traditional materials. The talk considers the smart material Shape Memory Alloy (SMA), and how it is being deployed to improve key components for next generation smartphones and wearables.

  4. Enabling Miniaturization: How Piezo Technology Helps Shrink Haptic Feedback Devices

    Sonja Brown | Director of Marketing, Piezo and Protection Devices of TDK Corporation

    Consumers are demanding smaller and more interactive devices that provide more responsive feedback in everything from the smallest wearables to high definition AR/VR and gaming devices to replacements for mini-switches and buttons. Haptic feedback device technology provides that interactivity and tactile feedback. However, as devices become smaller, engineers must focus on shrinking the total solution, driver and haptics. Learn how material and new design innovations are leading the way to miniaturized haptic devices.

  5. Networking Break

Session VI: Technology Enablers Part II

Moderator: Jim Holbery, Research Manager, Microsoft

In the closing session of Smart Haptics, speakers will take a deep dive into complex research and development of haptic components and materials

  1. From Smart Material Processing to Embedded Haptic Technology with Enhanced Feedback

    Coralie Gallis, Ph.D. | Senior Strategic Partnerships-North America of CEAtech

    Haptics may have many different applications, but these different applications may need different technologies. This presentation will focus on innovations in haptics answering the market needs and future challenges of different haptic applications. The talk will cover the following aspects:

    • The material challenges in haptics, from magnetorheological material, through printing electronics, and semiconductor actuators.
    • The signal processing on how to make sure the haptics the user feels is the appropriate feeling for the application. To have the optimum haptic user experience, you need to have an adaptive signal processing.
    • And finally, some scenarios and applications will be shown for each of the different technologies.
  2. Vibrotactile Actuators and Their Industrial Applications

    Hsin-Yun Yao | Senior Staff Engineer, Clear-Com & Research Scientist of Motsai Research

    This talk will explore the role of vibrotactile actuators in the haptic-enabled equipment in the industry.

  3. Automatic Authoring of Haptic Content

    Seungmoon Choi, Ph.D. | Professor, Computer Science and Engineering of Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH)

    Providing rich and immersive physical experiences to users has become an essential component in many computer-interactive applications, where haptics plays a central role. However, as with other sensory modalities, modeling and rendering good haptic experiences with plausible physicality is a very demanding task in terms of the cost associated with modeling and authoring, not to mention the cost for development. No general and wide-used solutions exist yet for that; most designers and developers rely on their in-house programs, or even worse, manual coding. This talk will introduce the research conducted by the speaker in order to facilitate the authoring of haptic content. In particular, it will focus on automatic synthesis algorithms of vibrotactile effects and motion effects from audiovisual content, as well as some relevant issues in haptic perception.

  4. Vibration Feedback Measurements for Haptics Enabled by Laser Doppler Vibrometry

    Eric Lawrence | Regional Manager of Polytec

    Vibration is used as a haptic feedback mechanism for a range of commercial applications.  While vibration is easy to generate using available actuators, how vibration is coupled into media where the user will interact with and experience tactile sensation is a more complicated area that is not completely understood.  A study of non-contact vibration measurements using laser Doppler vibrometry for haptics applications is presented for a range of devices and applications.  The technology features direct, real-time response measurements with sub-nanometer resolution and high frequency bandwidth.  This study presents the scope of current applications where laser Doppler vibrometry is used as an enabling technology for the development of haptics.  Example measurements presented include:  direct measurements on piezo haptic transducers to resolve displacement profiles, response of a mobile phone driven by a linear resonant actuator, scanning vibrometer measurements of a human hand showing the propagation of vibration as 3D deflection shape, wave propagation measurements on touch screens, push response measurements of tactile metal domes and keyboards, and novel use for air-coupled, ultrasonic haptic devices (“ultra haptics”).

  5. Closing Remarks for the conference