2017 Speakers

Smithers Apex is pleased to announce the Smart Haptics 2017 speakers

Expert speakers include:

  • Freddy Abnousi MD, MBA, MSc

    Leading Top Secret Projects at Building 8 Facebook

    Dr. Abnousi is an Interventional Cardiologist specializing in coronary and structural interventions and runs top secret projects at Facebook’s Building 8. He has completed Fellowships in Cardiovascular Medicine and Interventional Cardiology, as well as Residency in Internal Medicine at Stanford University Medical Center. He was previously a resident surgeon at the University of California, San Francisco. He completed his MD at Stanford University School of Medicine, MBA from Oxford University, and MSc in Health Policy, Planning, & Financing from the London School of Economics. His previous work experiences include leading healthcare efforts at McKinsey & Co and Google. He has been recognized as a national leader in biomedical innovation with a focus on cost-effective early stage medical device development and serves as CMO of CorDynamix Inc, an interventional heart failure company, and Innovation Advisor to the American College of Cardiology.

  • Steve Anderson

    Group Program Manager Microsoft

    Steve Anderson is the Group Program Manager for the HoloLens Science team. The team develops sensors, algorithms and machine learning models against specific problems in Mixed Reality, iterating between experiences and the capabilities of the technology.

    Steve has been working in software for longer than he cares to mention, bridging the space between human factors and hard technology. He holds an MS in EE, focusing on image processing software; has managed software development in a number of smaller imaging software companies; and has been at Microsoft for 16 years. He says he might be the luckiest person alive. 

  • Anuja Bagul

    Senior Material Scientist Material ConneXion

    Anuja G. Bagul is a Senior Material Scientist, New Technologies at Material ConneXion. In this role, Anuja has spearheaded research into new materials and technologies including e-skins, soft robotics, smart haptics, wearables, e-textiles, printed and structural electronics, composites, and bioengineered materials including synthetic spider silks. In addition, Anuja works with cross-functional teams to ideate and implement new material strategies and enhance technology portfolios.

    Anuja holds a Masters Degree from Cornell University in Materials Science and Engineering, focusing on functionalized nanoparticles for enhanced oil recovery systems, and a Bachelors Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Pune University, where she served as Team Leader of the Soleca-Solar Car project in her undergraduate program.

    Anuja’s prior experience includes being the youngest person ever to work in the National Chemical Laboratory (NCL) in Pune, India. There, she was a part of the team that developed a new technique for the extracellular synthesis of gold nanoparticles using biological means. Additionally, Anuja worked with a leading industrial design firm in India called Design Directions, proposing alternate materials, production processes and innovative designs for a variety of projects. She is a frequent speaker on various topics relating to materials, and served as an assistant editor for Material Innovation: Packaging Design, published by Thames & Hudson. 

  • Stefan Benkhof

    Director of Product Marketing, Piezo and Protection Devices Business Group TDK Corporation

    Stefan Benkhof is Director of Product Marketing for Piezo and Protection Products for TDK.
    He has 20+ years of experience in the electronic components sector with a special focus on ceramic components.

    In his current position he is in charge of the global marketing activities for two new and innovative product lines: PowerHapTM piezo actuators and CeraLinkTM capacitors.

  • David Birnbaum

    Design Director Immersion Corp.

    David Birnbaum, Design Director at Immersion Corporation, has been creating haptic experiences for over 10 years, in which time he’s been named as an inventor on over 60 patents in the fields of user experience, wearables, gaming, medical devices, mobile communication, and rich interactive media. A leading expert in haptic design, he leads a team responsible for developing the tactile aesthetics of emerging technologies. David is driven by a desire to tell stories with the sense of touch and to bring emotion and realism to digital experiences. He holds a B.S. in Music Industry from USC and a M.A. in Music Technology from McGill University.

  • Peter Botticelli

    Sales & Production Engineer Syntouch

    Peter Botticelli joined SynTouch as the Sales & Production Engineer with a strong background in custom robotics and control systems. Peter studied electrical engineering at Worchester Polytechnic Institute and the University of Massachusetts, Lowell. He worked in development as a robotics engineer at Barrett Technology Inc. and UniFirst Corporation. At SynTouch, Peter develops state-of-theart machine sensing technology, working with leaders in various industries including consumer electronics, automotive, textiles, and consumer goods to provide novel applications for machine touch.

  • Daniel Büttner

    CEO Lofelt

    Daniel Büttner is co-founder and CEO of Lofelt, makers of HD haptic technologies that create a unique physical connection between people and their devices. Trained as a professional bass player and sound designer, Daniel understands how resonance and vibration are key to creating natural experiences. Lofelt’s sound-driven haptic technology profoundly transforms user experiences in wearables, music, gaming, VR, AR, automotive and beyond. 

  • J. Edward Colgate

    Breed University Design Professor at Northwestern University Tanvas

    J. Edward Colgate is the Breed University Design Professor and a member of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Northwestern University, just outside of Chicago, Illinois. Dr. Colgate’s principal research interest is haptic interface.  He is the co-inventor of a class of collaborative robots known as “cobots” and a suite of technologies for bringing programmable haptic feedback to touch surfaces. He served as the founding Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE Transactions on Haptics and is a Fellow of the IEEE and the National Academy of Inventors.

  • Tina Dao

    Senior Director, Research & Innovation Operations Fitbit

    When Tina Dao began her career, the times were more hardhat than wearable device, but the principles she uses to organize and rally people, technology, and systems around a common, profit-focused goal remains central to building the right operational backbone and team for a company she is part of across its various stages of life. 

    Tina is currently the Senior Director of Research & Innovation Operations at Fitbit where she has created teams from the ground up.  She is known for creating shared vision, developing strategy and putting mechanisms in place to achieve operational excellence; she is most recognized for her ability to create a culture that fosters innovation, collaboration, and customer focus.

  • Alex Driskill-Smith

    VP North America Ultrahaptics

    Alex Driskill-Smith joined Ultrahaptics as Vice President of North America in 2016. He heads the sales, marketing, engineering and research teams based in Ultrahaptics’ Silicon Valley office which opened in April 2017. Previously, he was Senior Director of Strategy and Business Development at Samsung, where he led a team supporting innovations and investments in semiconductors, displays, datacenter architecture, digital health, internet of things, human-computer interaction, augmented and virtual reality, and autonomous machines and robotics. He joined Samsung in 2011 through Samsung’s acquisition of Grandis, a semiconductor memory start-up, where he served as Vice President of Business Development. Earlier in his career, he held engineering positions at IBM and Hitachi. He holds M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Physics from the University of Cambridge, U.K., an M.B.A. degree from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and 8 issued and pending patents.

  • Sinclair Fleming

    Lead Engineer Starbreeze Studios

    Sinclair Fleming is Lead Engineer at Starbreeze Studios.  He is responsible for turning the creative vision of virtual reality experience designers into tangible objects and practical sets in location-based VR facilities such as IMAX VR.  Since joining Starbreeze, he has overseen prop design for titles such as The Mummy: Prodigium Strike and John Wick Chronicles.  He previously held positions as Director of Engineering at Radiant Images and Technical Director at Avalanche 3D Entertainment.  As a well-known innovator and educator in digital cinema, stereoscopic 3D and live VR capture, his current focus is to utilize technology to fully envelop the audience with sensory stimuli that transports them to new places and worlds.

  • Gilad Kat

    P&G Europe Communication Planning Director MediaCom

     - Communication Planning Director in charge of P&G brands in Europe.

    - Former head of Israel’s Advertising Agencies Association's Strategy committee.

    - Lead Mediacom’s Planning AoR for P&G Israel.

    - Served on the jury of the 2010 Cannes Lions Advertising Festival and throughout the years lead Mediacom teams to winning several industry awards including a Cannes Lions Media Grand Prix ,a Gold and several Bronzes in addition to Procter & Gamble’s Global Media Award and Brand Building award.

    - A regular contributor to Advertising 101 text book – Kleppner’s Advertising Procedure.

  • Jacques Kotze

    President Adludio USA

    Jacques has a PhD in Mathematics and Applied Mathematics and has worked as a researcher in physics and computational cosmology at Stanford and Oxford universities. He later accepted an offer to join the investment banking division of Barclays Capital in Canary Wharf, London where he worked for the Quantitative Analytics and Research Group. During his time as a quantitative analyst Jacques started a conversation with an ex academic colleague and coincidentally discovered a shortcoming in the methods used to render adverts on mobile devices and theorised about ways to solve it. He then conceptualised the business idea behind Adludio and joined industry experts within the Advertising Technology (Ad Tech) sector to realise this opportunity.

  • Jos Meuleman

    Senior Systems Engineer Moog

    Jos Meuleman (1976) graduated as a mechanical engineer at the University of Twente with a thesis on the design of a 6 dimensional force sensor. In 2001 he joined Fokker Control Systems (later named MOOG) and worked on several development projects. In 2003 he joined the Haptics department as a systems engineer for force feedback machines, such as the HapticMASTER robot, the Wristalyzer wrist perturbator and a haptic dental trainer, Simodont. In 2015 he obtained a PhD in rehabilitation robotics at the University of Twente, on the design of a haptic gait training robot, LOPES II. Currently he is lead engineer in the Medical Simulation group at Moog in the Netherlands, working on several medical haptic projects.

  • Sile O'Modhrain

    Associate Professor University of Michigan

    Sile O'Modhrain is an associate  professor at the University of Michigan, where she holds a joint appointment in the School of Information and in the Department of Performing Arts Technology at the school of Music, Theatre and Dance.  Her research focuses on human-computer interaction, especially interfaces incorporating tactile and auditory feedback.

    She earned her master's degree in music technology from the University of York and her PhD from Stanford University's Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA). She has also worked as a sound engineer and producer for BBC Radio. In 1994, she received a Fulbright scholarship, and went to Stanford to develop a touch-based equivalent to the graphical user interface for blind computer users.  Her current work on the development of a full-page refreshable tactile display is a direct outgrowth of this early work at Stanford.

    Dr. O’Modhrain has also taught at the Sonic Arts Research Centre at Queens University Belfast and, from 2001-2005 directed the Palpable Machines group at Media Lab Europe.

  • William Provancher

    CEO Tactical Haptics

    William R. Provancher received the B.S. degree in mechanical engineering in 1993, and the M.S. degree in materials science and engineering in 1995, both from the University of Michigan. He worked for five years at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Space. He received a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Stanford University, in 2003, where he continued as a postdoctoral researcher focusing on climbing robots. From 2005-2015 he was on the faculty of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, USA, where he was an Associate Professor. As faculty, he received the NSF Faculty Early Career Development Award, as well as a number of Best Paper, Best Poster, and Best Demo Awards from leading international conferences. More recently he founded the company, Tactical Haptics, where he is currently working to bring a more realistic sense of touch to Virtual Reality via his ground breaking research on tactile shear feedback. 

  • Vivek (Vik) Sreedhar

    Marketing and Technology Manager Alps Electric

    Vivek Sreedhar is a Marketing and Technology Manager at Alps Electric and focuses on new product and technology development. He has a Masters in Electrical and Computer Engineering as well as a Masters in Business Administration. He has 13 years of experience working in the Automotive, Medical and Telecom industries. He recently relocated to Silicon Valley from Michigan but his heart still remains in Detroit and with his home team the Detroit Lions.

  • Hong Z. Tan

    Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Purdue University tangerineX

    Hong Z. Tan has conducted haptic research for about 30 years. Her MIT doctoral dissertation was the first study to demonstrate an information rate of 12 bits/s with a multi-finger haptic display that was developed as a tactile aid for the hearing impaired. Tan received her Bachelor's degree in Biomedical Engineering from Shanghai Jiao Tong University, P.R. China. She earned her Master and Doctorate degrees, both in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). She is currently a Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering with courtesy appointments in Mechanical Engineering and Psychological Sciences at Purdue University. Tan was a recipient of the prestigious US National Science Foundation's Early Faculty Development (CAREER) Award, and she was a Chinese National Natural Science Funds’ Distinguished (Overseas) Young Scholar. She has served on numerous program committees, was a co-organizer of Haptics Symposium from 2003 to 2005, Founding Chair of the IEEE Technical Committee on Haptics in 2006, Editor-in-Chief of the World Haptics Conference Editorial Board from 2012 to 2015, and co-chair of the World Haptics Conference in 2015. Tan has served on many journal editorial boards and received a Meritorious Service Award from the IEEE Transactions on Haptics in 2012. From 2011-2015, Tan was a Visiting Researcher, then a Senior Researcher and Research Manager at Microsoft Research Asia in Beijing, China. She is keen on applying research to real-world problems and serves as a consultant for companies interested in developing novel haptic systems for consumer products. Tan is founder and CEO of tangerineX, a startup that creates interfaces that touch us back. Tan is a Fellow of the IEEE.