I will describe recent research in my lab on haptics and robotics. It has been a longstanding challenge to realize engineering systems that can match the amazing perceptual and motor feats of biological systems for touch, including the human hand. Some of the difficulties of meeting this objective can be traced to our limited understanding of the mechanics, and to the high dimensionality of the signals, and to the multiple length and time scales - physical regimes - involved. An additional source of richness and complication arises from the sensitive dependence of what we feel on what we do, i.e. on the tight coupling between touch-elicited mechanical signals, object contacts, and actions. I will describe research in my lab that has aimed at addressing these challenges, and will explain how the results are guiding the development of new technologies for haptics, wearable computing, and robotics.
Biography: Yon Visell is Assistant Professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Media Arts & Technology Program, and Department of Mechanical Engineering. He received the Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering at McGill University, and was a postdoctoral scholar at the Institute of Intelligent Systems and Robotics at the Institute of Intelligent Systems and Robotics, Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris. He received MA and BA degrees in Physics from The University of Texas, Austin and Wesleyan University respectively, and spent several years in working at tech companies, including Ableton, where he contributed to music software that is used by bedroom producers and Grammy-winning artists. Dr. Visell has published more than 70 scientific works, including two edited volumes on haptics and VR. His work has received multiple awards at leading haptics conferences. He was awarded a Google Faculty Research Award in 2016, a Hellman Family Foundation Faculty Fellowship in 2017, and a US National Science Foundation CAREER award in 2018. Dr. Visell is the general co-chair of the 2020 IEEE Haptics Symposium.