Making Haptics and its Design Accessible

When and Where

Tuesday, April 02, 2019 12:10 pm to 2:00 pm
Room 102
Mechanical Engineering Building
5 King's College Road, Toronto


Karon MacLean 


Professor Karon MacLean, Computer Science Department, University of British Columbia
Topic: Making Haptics and its Design Accessible
MIE Distinguished Seminar Series in association with the Psychology and Engineering (Psych/Eng) Seminar Series

Abstract: Today’s advances in tactile sensing and wearable, IOT and context-aware computing are spurring new ideas about how to configure touch-centered interactions in terms of roles and utility, which in turn expose new technical and social design questions. But while haptic actuation, sensing and control are improving, incorporating them into a real-world design process is extremely difficult and poses a major obstacle to adoption into everyday technology.

In this talk, Professor Karon MacLean will overview highlights chosen from of an ongoing effort to understand how to support haptic designers and end-users. These include online experimental design tools, DIY open sourced hardware and accessible means of creating, for example, expressive physical robot motions and evolve physically sensed expressive tactile languages, and major community-based studies of design practice.

To accelerate design practice, we put our systems, designs and datasets online. A central and evolving piece of the larger openhaptics effort is Haptipedia, an expert-sourced, community-based browsable visualization of historical haptic inventions as a resource to future designers.

Karon MacLean is Professor in Computer Science at UBC, with degrees in Biology and Mechanical Engineering (BSc, Stanford; M.Sc. / Ph.D, MIT) and time spent as a professional robotics engineer (Center for Engineering Design, University of Utah) and haptics / interaction researcher (Interval Research, Palo Alto). At UBC since 2000, MacLean’s research specializes in haptic (touch) interaction: cognitive, sensory and affective design for people interacting with the computation we touch, emote and move with and learn from, from robots to touchscreens and the situated environment. MacLean leads UBC’s Designing for People interdisciplinary research cluster and CREATE graduate training program (20 researchers spanning 8 departments and 4 faculties –, and is Special Advisor, Innovation and Knowledge Mobilization to UBC’s Faculty of Science.

This event is open to the public and registration is not required. The seminar will be followed by an informal reception in MC 331.

For more information, contact Min at


5 King's College Road, Toronto