Dr. J. Edward Colgate

Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering
Northwestern University

Friday, January 20, 2012, at 3:00 PM
Warnock Engineering Building, Room L104
Reception to follow at 4:00 PM

Seminar Abstract

The touch screen is the preeminent human-computer interface of our times. Touch input technologies such as the projected capacitance sensors found on smart phones and tablets are rapidly advancing. But what about touch output? In this talk, I’ll discuss “surface haptics”: programmable haptic interaction for physical surfaces such as touch screens and touch pads. Four main approaches – vibration, shape, electrotactile, and shear force – will be reviewed, but emphasis will be given to shear force because it is uniquely suited to bilateral (e.g., force feedback) interaction. I’ll explain how shear force can be controlled by manipulating friction. Specific approaches to controlling coefficient of friction (μ), normal force (N), and relative velocity (Δv), will be reviewed, and I’ll describe a variety of devices – the TPaD, ShiverPaD, LateralPaD, and ActivePaD – that have been developed in our lab to exploit these effects. I’ll share some recent experimental results, and close with some speculation on the future of surface haptics.

About Dr. Colgate

Ed Colgate ResearchEd Colgate is the Breed University Professor of Design at Northwestern University. His research interests lie in the areas of haptic interface, telemanipulation, prosthetics and physical human-robot interaction. With his colleague Michael Peshkin, Colgate is the inventor of a class of collaborative robots known as “cobots.” He is the founding Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE Transactions on Haptics. He also directs the Master of Science in Engineering Design and Innovation, which combines graduate-level engineering courses with a broad exposure to human-centered design. In addition to his academic pursuits, Colgate is a founder of three companies: Stanley Cobotics, Kinea Design and Tangible Haptics.