View The Agenda From Smart Haptics 2019

Smithers is proud to present the agenda for Smart Haptics 2019!

Day 1 | December 4

Registration & Exhibit Hall Opens

  1. Registration & Exhibit Hall Open

  2. Opening Remarks

    Rebecca List – Conference Producer, Smithers

Session IA: Exploring the Future of Haptics

  1. Keynote: Haptic Ethics

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

    Haptics is fundamentally different from other technologies. It happens to you, by affecting your body and conditioning your behavior. We’re approaching an inflection point where many more encounters with technology will include haptics. With all this exciting progress, ethical concerns become more pressing: Should haptic developers and designers follow a code of ethics? Are there risks in allowing third parties to manipulate people’s emotions and bodies? How might society – and ethics – change with haptics? Those of us who work in the field of haptics belong to a small community of experts, and we have a responsibility to decide whether and how to approach these problems. This keynote is intended to get the conversation started, and it will bring together research from both science and the humanities to explore these and other questions.

  2. Touching the Void in Virtual Reality

    Dr. Mar Gonzalez-Franco | Senior Researcher of Microsoft Research

    For the PC, it is the mouse. For video games, it is the two-handed controller. What is the equivalent for virtual and augmented reality? Every major type of human-computer interface has coalesced around and evolved with an interaction controller. In this talk, we will explore the limits of our current VR controllers and present a subset of VR haptic prototypes. A commonality in our controllers is the fact that they focus on simulating objects rather than matching hand skills. That has allowed us to find prototypes that address different subsets of canonical haptic primitives. The sum of them enables grasping, cutaneous touch, stable grip, dexterity, and precision interaction to manipulate objects inside AR/VR systems.

    This pioneering work at the intersection of neuroscience and technology has been published in Science Robotics, IEEE Transactions on Haptics, ACM CHI, ACM UIST, ACM Symposium on Applied Perception, and Scientific American, as well as helped demonstrate the theory of the Uncanny Valley of Haptics.

  3. Designing for the Sense of Touch: Opportunities and Challenges in Human-Computer Interaction

    Marcello Giordano | Research Scientist of Chatham Labs

    This is indubitably a very exciting time for haptics. Consumer devices are capable, now more than ever, of delivering rich and nuanced haptic effects, and users have learned to expect a certain level of quality in terms of the haptic capabilities of their devices. This progress is driven by the continuous advancement of haptic technology and science, authoring tools, and our understanding of human touch perception. In this context, the work of haptic designers becomes crucial, being the ones tasked with bringing together these different domains to create the haptic experiences of the future. In this talk, I will focus on haptic design as a discipline in its own right. I will attempt to flesh out the great opportunities and challenges that haptic designers face and will continue to face in the future, developing haptics for increasingly diverse audiences, devices, and applications, ranging from virtual reality to wearable devices and the tactile internet. 

  4. Networking Break - Exhibit Hall Open

Session IB: Exploring the Future of Vibrotactile Haptics

  1. Keynote: Open-Sourcing Haptics – Paving the Way to Better Experiences

    Daniel Büttner | CEO of Lofelt

    Adoption of advanced haptic technologies is accelerating – along with the complexities, costs, and resources needed for integration. A new, user-friendly, standardized approach to haptics is required to deliver the realistic, immersive experiences of tomorrow.

    In this keynote, Lofelt will present a broad survey of the haptics market, discussing the adoption of HD haptics in consumer devices. Lofelt will explain why an open-source, cross-platform, actuator-agnostic framework is a key step toward creating the remarkable haptic experiences of tomorrow. This framework aims to solve key challenges that are specific to haptics, e.g., enabling content developers to design consistent, high-quality experiences for multiple devices regardless of the actuator – with a single API.

  2. Synchronized Actuation for High-Fidelity XR Haptics: Introducing SAVANT

    Dr. Nikhil Bajaj | Engineering Consultant of General Vibration Corporation

    Conventional solutions for generating high-fidelity haptic vibrations in battery-powered, handheld devices used in XR applications have been limited to a single vibration actuator. In this talk, we will present the advantages of a multi-actuator approach, in order to build a system that meets XR application constraints. We will introduce the SAVANT (Synchronized Array of Vibration Actuators in a Network Topology) approach, an architecture that allows for cost-competitive, fast-response, high-force output, battery-powered haptic vibration displays. This architecture yields a set of methods that can be scaled to provide actuation systems with high performance and multiple degrees of freedom for high-fidelity haptic devices. We will discuss the implementation of an example SAVANT solution useful for XR. In addition, we will discuss future directions, including exotic SAVANTs that will become cost effective for the consumer market as sensing and control technologies continue to advance and decrease in cost.

  3. Presenting a Universal Haptics Language: “Vector Haptics”

    Tim Szeto | CEO and Founder of Nanoport Technology

    While modern haptics have seen steady advancement, there remains a need to encourage the creation of quality haptics content. One potential improvement is an abstraction of hardware considerations from the design and playback of haptic effects. Nanoport presents its design of a universal haptics protocol, its work with industry players, and business considerations for the haptics industry. At Smart Haptics US 2019, the Vector Haptics program officially launches and details its approach for cross-platform haptics content.

  4. Networking Lunch & Exhibit Hall Open

Session II: Creative Immersion Through AR/VR/XR Haptics

  1. Wearable Haptics in AR/VR

    Nick Colonnese | Research Scientist of Facebook Reality Labs

    We are in the midst of a mobile human-computer interface revolution. Developments in battery technology, capacitive touch screens, symbolic input algorithms, and ever-growing computation power have made smartphones ubiquitous and effective. Similar recent developments in optics, display, tracking, and machine perception promise to again reinvent mobile interfaces through augmented and virtual reality. Today’s AR/VR interfaces can render complex and expressive visual and audio information. However, their haptic rendering leaves much to be desired in terms of portability/wearability, and the haptic stimuli they offer is often limited to simple vibration. As AR/VR further develop, it will become increasingly important to couple visual and audio information with haptic feedback to enable more immersive, intuitive, and useful interactions with a virtual world. In this talk, I will survey the academic state of the art in AR/VR wearable haptic displays and speak to results on how wearable devices which approximate or substitute haptic sensations can improve AR/VR interaction.

  2. Creating “Surgeon 4.0” Using Haptic VR

    Richard Vincent | CEO of FundamentalVR

    Surgical training hasn’t changed in 150 years. Theory, observation, and live patient learning still dominate, contributing to major social impacts; globally, two thirds of the population have no access to safe and affordable surgery. In this presentation, a VR expert will talk about how his company is revolutionizing medical and surgical training by democratizing it through technology, using haptic VR technology, and how VR will become mainstream in the years to come.

  3. How HaptX is Advancing Training, Design, and Robotics

    Andrew Mitrak | Director of Marketing of HaptX

    HaptX Gloves provide high-fidelity tactile feedback, force feedback, and precise motion tracking to simulate touch with unprecedented realism. This industrial-grade haptic technology is advancing the way we use VR to learn skills and design products, and it is pioneering the field of dexterous telerobotic operations. Hear from Andrew Mitrak, HaptX’s Director of Marketing, to learn how advanced haptics are changing the way we interact with digital environments.

  4. Networking Break - Exhibit Hall Open

Session III: Advancements in Automotive Haptics

  1. Future User Interaction Concepts for Automotive Applications

    Stella Clarke | Research Engineer, Future User Interaction Concepts of BMW Group

    Automotive interiors and user interfaces are drastically changing. While possible user functions and overall complexity are increasing, the number of physical switches is decreasing. Safety and usability are clearly of utmost importance, and tactile feedback plays a crucial role in the efforts to minimize driver distraction and enhance usability. Looking to the future benefits from past lessons learned. This presentation reviews the key roles of haptics and intuitive interfaces in automotive over the past 70 years, leading to the status today, and how this influences concepts and research directions for smart interiors of the future.

  2. The Role of Haptics in Future Human-Machine Interfaces

    Ethan Sturm | Senior Manager, Strategic Markets of Alps Alpine/Cirque Corporation

    The way humans interface with technology is continually evolving, from buttons and levers, keyboards and mice, to touchscreens and voice assistants that are ubiquitous in today’s devices. Ultimately the common goal of these innovations is to translate our intent into the machine as effectively as possible.

    In this presentation, we will explore the evolution of these technologies and how the presence of haptic feedback is critical to the human experience. Real-world applications in virtual reality and automotive, as well as academic research, will frame the discussion. Finally, we will look ahead at how upcoming innovations are likely to impact future product designs.

  3. Mid-Air Haptic Feedback – Enabling Automotive Controls

    Alex Driskill-Smith | President, North America of Ultraleap

    Automotive adoption of gesture and voice recognition is accelerating, with multiple manufacturers now offering driver and passenger controls. The status quo of screen-based systems requires drivers to glance away to confirm status and actioning of their inputs. As regulators increasingly take notice of distraction as a key safety metric, how can mid-air haptics combine with these technologies to reduce glance time, increase user preference, and simplify interactions?

  4. Closing Remarks for the Day

    Rebecca List – Conference Producer, Smithers

  5. Thought Leadership Reception

Day 2 | December 5

Registration & Exhibit Hall Opens

  1. Registration & Exhibit Hall Open

  2. Opening Remarks

    Rebecca List – Conference Producer, Smithers

Session IV: Designing Haptic Technology

  1. Designing with Surface Haptics

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

    In surface haptics, such as TanvasTouch, the user is active, moving fingers across the touch surface, while the haptics typically feel passive, as though they originate from things like surface geometry, texture, or internal mechanisms (e.g., detents). This is somewhat the opposite of vibrotactile haptics in which the skin is usually in static contact with the device, and the effects typically feel active, as though they originate from energy sources within the device (which they do). The experience is so different that it becomes necessary to reimagine the way that you might use haptics in interface design. In this talk, I’ll describe a high-level framework for thinking about UI design with surface haptics, review some best practices, and explain how those influence design. I’ll also talk about the infinite variety of textures that one can create with TanvasTouch, and highlight some of the key parameters that can be dialed in to get just the right feel.

  2. A Human-Centered Approach to Designing Immersive Experiences

    Reggie Wirjadi | Director of Interaction Design of Punchcut

    We seek to craft the most natural, usable, and immersive solutions for our clients and ultimately for the people who use the products and services we design. With advances in display and audio technology, we’ve been able to design more immersive experiences that leverage the senses of sight and sound. Increasingly, we’ve been able to add touch to that mix as we’ve harnessed advancements in haptic technology, enabling even more immersive and personal experiences. However, in today’s multi-device, multi-space, hyper-connected world, it’s important to consider the contexts in which the experiences are used – namely, the people, devices, spaces, and services in the mix and the relationships that form between those entities.

    In this talk, we’ll discuss our “Experience Systematics” philosophy and process that we use for designing holistic and immersive experiences. We’ll share our future perspective of how we see consumer experiences evolving and where haptics fits in. We’ll discuss the unique challenges that designing for haptics presents and how we’ve tailored our process with our clients to address and embrace those challenges. Finally, we’ll share some working principles and tools that you can use in your projects.

  3. Networking Break - Exhibit Hall Open

Session V: Updates and Trends in Wearable and Mobile Device Haptics

  1. Unlocking the Power of Temperature with Embr Wave

    Dr. Matthew Smith | CSO, Co-Founder, and President of Embr Labs

    Embr Labs is the first thermal wellness technology company, connecting the world of haptics and digital therapeutics to bring thermal wellness to the world. Our first product, Embr Wave, is an intelligent bracelet that cools or warms you with the press of a button. It uses patented technology to precisely cool or warm the temperature-sensitive skin on your wrist, helping you feel 5 degrees more comfortable in minutes. Tens of thousands of people are using Embr Wave today to improve their comfort, feel less stressed, and sleep better. With their patented thermal technology platform, Embr Labs is actively partnering with companies to harness the restorative power of temperature in modern solutions for wellness and symptom management.

    Dr. Smith will be speaking about the platform technology developed by Embr Labs for delivering intelligent, low power, and wearable thermal experiences, lessons learned through constant engagement with customers, and the exciting and complex science underlying thermal sensations and their profound impact on our subjective human experiences.

  2. Finding Calm and Focus with doppel

    Dr. Fotini Markopoulou | Co-Founder and CEO of doppel

    The vast majority of wearables revolve around sensors, measuring and collecting data about our lives. However, we, people, do not process data – we experience. Experiences are feelings, and the next generation of wearables needs to interface with our feelings. Haptics are key to this. Recent research in interoception, our sense of the physiological state of our body, points the way for haptics that interact with body and mind. I will present doppel, a wristband with a heartbeat that has been shown to increase calm and focus easily and non-invasively.

  3. Mobile Device Haptics: Current Trends, Future Challenges

    Tony Doy | Technology Manager of Cirrus Logic

    High-resolution haptics are becoming pervasive in mobile devices. This presentation will cover a few examples of haptics hardware implementation in some recently released phones, touch on the physics and limitations of a typical phone LRA (Linear Resonant Actuator) based sub-system, and outline some of the challenges of deploying and rendering haptic effects in phones.

    Looking ahead, with the advent of high-sensitivity force sensing becoming cost effective such that – in conjunction with low-latency, high-resolution haptic feedback – virtual buttons can be defined on bezels and control surfaces, leading to the possibility of intuitive, “use mode” defined user experiences and interaction.

  4. SMA Haptics Adds a New Dimension to Next-Generation Smartphones

    Marc Scholz, PhD | Senior System Engineer of Cambridge Mechatronics

    Cambridge Mechatronics Ltd (CML) uses proprietary shape memory alloy (SMA) technology to create realistic local tactile sensations through high force actuation in a miniature form factor. The launch of CML’s haptic actuator shifts the boundaries of tactile interaction and creates opportunities for application developers and designers of next-generation smartphones. SMA-based haptics are expected to enhance virtual controls and augmented gaming experiences through an increased ability to control and fine-tune tactile interactions.

  5. Networking Lunch & Exhibit Hall Open

Session VI: Building a Haptics-Minded Business

  1. Building a Haptics-Minded Business – Panel Discussion

    Panelists Include: Lofelt, Tanvas, Nanoport Technology, and Ultraleap


    • Daniel Büttner – CEO, Lofelt
    • Phill LoPresti – CEO, Tanvas
    • Tim Szeto – Founder and CEO, Nanoport Technology
    • Alex Driskill-Smith – President, North America, Ultraleap 
  2. Networking Break - Exhibit Hall Open

Session VII: Innovations in Accessibility Technologies

  1. Neuro-Rehabilitation Solution: Leveraging Smart Socks to Monitor Gait and Synchronized Haptic Stimuli to Retrain the Neuromuscular System

    Maurizio Macagno | CTO of Sensoria Inc

    Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is the second most common neurological condition disease, affecting over 10 million people worldwide. Falls are a serious concern for people with PD. Falls and loss of independence may be caused by excessive step-time variability and freezing of gait (FOG). Gait impairments are associated with decreased balance confidence and increased fall risk, and they drastically affect a person’s functional independence and quality of life. Gait parameters such as increased double support time variability and lower-than-average walking bouts are associated with elevated fall risk. Sensoria Health is honored and excited to partner with Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA), a leader in brain and nervous system research based in Sydney, Australia, on the research project Standing Tall – PD, a neuro-rehabilitation solution. As part of the Michael J. Fox Foundation grant, Smart Sock v3.0 with haptic feedback is currently being utilized in a clinical trial with 100 Parkinson’s patients at NeuRA.

  2. Creating a New Channel for Machine-Human Communication

    Laura Bücheler | CEO and Co-Founder of GHOST – feel it

    As the demand for machine-human communication increases, the typical channels using visual and auditory senses are overloaded as more and more complex information has to be transmitted. GHOST – feel it. has developed a smart shirt and a haptic language that enables machines to send information via vibration patterns to the user in order to communicate through a new channel. Our mission is to enable OEM companies to offer a haptic user interface to their customers and get involved in the haptic technology trend with a head start.

  3. NewHaptics: Refreshing Refreshable Braille

    Alex Russomanno | Co-Founder and CEO of NewHaptics

    For many of the over 35 million blind people in the world, access to braille and tactile graphical content (e.g., graphs, maps, charts) in an electronic form is essential for literacy and proficiency in science and other math-related subjects. However, the high cost and limited capability of current refreshable braille displays represent significant accessibility barriers for people who are blind, and this places blind students at a disadvantage in today’s increasingly digital classrooms. These current refreshable displays are limited to a single line or a few words of braille text, making reading difficult and accessing spatial information impossible. NewHaptics is on a mission to bring cheaper and more capable refreshable braille displays to market. In this talk, Alex will discuss the technological challenges NewHaptics seeks to overcome, and the ways in which their proposed products will revolutionize digital interaction for the blind.

  4. Closing Remarks

    Rebecca List – Conference Producer, Smithers