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Take a look at the 2020 online agenda below. This agenda included presentations and panels from Facebook Reality Labs, Ultraleap, Interhaptics, Ultraleap, XPRIZE, Embr Labs, and many mor

The Role of Haptics in a Touchless World
Concerns about touching surfaces and objects in public spaces have increased due to the pandemic, and companies are looking for alternative solutions that can support equally effective interactions. Further, as physical and digital worlds merge in new applications such as automotive heads-up displays or untethered augmented reality smart glasses, users are looking for natural and meaningful ways to interact with 3D content.
Ultraleap’s hand tracking and mid-air haptics technologies are at the heart of a new virtual approach. These technologies enable human connection, creativity, and collaboration through touchless interfaces that are safe, clean, and intuitive. This session will focus on the technologies and solutions that companies are using to drive brand awareness, enable safer interactions, create connection for
Alex Driskill-Smith | President, North America, Ultraleap
The Evolving Haptics Ecosystem
  • Where are we now?
  • How did we get here?
  • Latest Developments
  • Where is the ecosystem going?
  • How does it compare to other technologies?

Tim Szeto | CEO and Founder, Nanoport Technology Inc.
Haptics Standardization – Progress and Outlook
With the increased adoption of haptics technology in consumer devices comes market fragmentation. Different proprietary APIs, proprietary coding and file formats, different hardware-to-software interfaces, and different motor characteristics effectively create “walled gardens” that are making it difficult for application developers to incorporate haptics easily into their applications.
This is where standardization could really help. Standardized coding formats and APIs, standardized evaluation criteria for haptics, standardized vibration motor performance ranges, to name a few, can only help harmonize the haptics offerings from different vendors – without compromising vendor differentiation. This, in turn, will incentivize content and application creators to incorporate richer haptics experiences into their offerings, leveraging the standard interfaces throughout the stack. Current walled gardens will give way to a flourishing haptics ecosystem that benefits all stakeholders.
In this talk, I will be describing the progress of haptics standardization activities in international standards development organizations (SDOs) like MPEG, ATSC, and IETF. Highlights include treating haptics as a first-order media type in ISOBMFF files, incorporating haptics into ATSC 3.0 broadcasts, and a recently issued draft Call for Proposals on a standardized haptic coding format by MPEG. I will also look ahead on the other potential areas where standardization could make sense.
Yeshwant Muthusamy Ph.D., | Senior Director, Standards, Immersion
Panel Discussion
Discussing Haptic Standardizations
Dave Birnbaum – Distinguished Staff, Technology Strategy, Immersion Corporation

  • Gwydion ap Dafydd – CTO, Lofelt
  • Philippe Guillotel – Distinguished Scientist, InterDigital
  • Yeshwant Muthusamy, Ph.D. – Senior Director, Standards, Immersion Corporation
Networking In The Lounge
Wearable Thermal Haptics: Opportunities in Digital Health and Wellness
Embr Labs is the first thermal wellness technology company, combining thermal haptics, digital experiences, and human psychophysiology to deliver transformative tools for health and wellness. Our first product, Embr Wave, is an intelligent warming and cooling bracelet that integrates with a mobile app to deliver digital + thermal wellness solutions. Co-Founder and Chief Scientific Officer, Dr. Matthew Smith, will discuss the science behind thermal haptics, the markets driving adoption of their first generation product, and give examples from the lab and the real world to illustrate how thermal haptics can improve the human experience.
Matthew J. Smith Ph.D, | Chief Scientific Officer, Embr Labs
How Silicone Transducers Enable Distinct and Contextual User Interfaces
Sateco industrializes a silicone stack actuator which moves without noise and produces a significant proportional displacement and mechanical force. This so-called artificial muscle has a wide bandwidth as it can move very slowly (<1 Hz) up to a few 100 Hz. The fast motion can be used to create a tactile stimulus. The slow motion can induce a change in surface texture, providing additional tactile and visual cues to the user for orientation. We show examples of efficient integration of the actuator into hard and soft surfaces. The actuator is compliant to curved surfaces, compensates tolerances, and attenuates vibration. The low weight and compact shape make it suitable for wearable devices.
Daniel Haefliger, PhD | CEO, Sateco XT AG
On mediating and not mediating touch: some obstacles facing haptics adoption
Author of Archaeologies of Touch: Interfacing with Haptics from Electricity to Computing.

Attempts to transform touch into a sense capable of being captured, stored, transmitted, and reconstructed by computers reach back to the 1960s. Such efforts have been intended explicitly to make touch like the senses of seeing and hearing, by providing touch with its own distinct set of mediation technologies and techniques. This process of analogous mediation, according to haptics proponents, would eventually help restore balance to the mediated sensorium, giving touch back its vital powers as an epistemological and emotional agent.

Thus far, however, attempts to design technologies that could meet this lofty goal of mediating touch have generally fallen short. The moment of sudden and extreme physical distancing forced on us in response to the COVID-19 pandemic exposed the lack of pragmatic and commercially viable solutions offered by the haptics industry—solutions that might have helped ameliorate the negative psychological effects of distanced communication during the pandemic.

Prompted by this crisis, I outline a set of practical obstacles to the widespread adoption of haptic technologies, including the materiality of the human tactile system, the accuracy of the various actuators responsible for generating haptic sensations, network latency issues, lack of standardization in haptic languages and design tools, the compatibility of haptic data with data encoded for the senses of seeing and hearing, and a more general cultural fatigue resulting from decades of unfulfilled promises made around touch technology by haptics evangelists.

David Parisi, Ph.D | Associate Professor of Emerging Media, College of Charleston
Haptics in Telemanipulation
The sense of touch, which is essential for human dexterity, is virtually absent from today's robotic hands. Just as anyone who has ever had their hands numbed from the cold already knows, human hands that cannot feel are slow, clumsy, and fairly ineffective – we should expect no more from telerobotic systems that lack the sense of touch. In this work, we have combined anthropomorphic robotic hands, human-like tactile sensing, and high-fidelity haptic gloves to create a new generation of tactile telerobots that allow an operator to control and feel a pair of robotic hands with unprecedented realism. This creates new opportunities for high-fidelity remote manipulation in applications where distance, safety, or accessibility are a challenge.

Jeremy Fishel, Ph.D. | Founder, Tangible Research
End of Day One
Haptics in Mixed Reality
We are in the midst of a mobile interface revolution. Mixed reality, XR, interfaces are positioned to revolutionize human-computer interaction by rendering complex three-dimensional visuals and spatialized audio content using portable, all-day-wearable, glasses or head-mounted displays. Stark differences between future XR interfaces and current interfaces present problems where interaction devices of the past (2d screens, keyboards, mice, and controllers) may no longer be suitable or efficient.
In this talk, I will talk about the human-computer interfaces of various eras, and how haptic feedback is likely to be an essential component of mixed reality. I will present claims on elements of haptic displays that I feel will be most impactful in XR, and survey the academic state of the art in these areas. 
Nicholas Colonnese | Research Science Manager, Facebook Reality Labs
Haptic Illusions of Force Feedback via Shear Feedback for Improved AR/VR Training and Gaming Experiences
  • Origins and explanation of shear feedback
  • Evolution of haptic hardware & software SDK
  • New haptic hardware
  • Use cases and latest experiences

William R. Provancher | Founder and CEO, Tactical Haptics
Haptics Design for XR – Best Practices and Practical Use Cases
The hand interaction with virtual content in XR is mainly mediated by controllers equipped with haptics actuators. Haptics feedback can enhance the perception and the perceived quality of XR content in several applications: gaming, training, marketing among them. One of the issues of haptics in XR today is how to create compelling haptics experiences which are supporting and enhancing the XR content for the use case. This talk will focus on haptics design guidelines for XR, and a practical approach on how to implement and realize them thanks to the haptic composter of Interhaptics.
Eric Vezzoli | Haptics Architect, Interhaptics
Networking In The Lounge
Overview of the ANA Avatar XPRIZE
The $10M ANA Avatar XPRIZE, launched in March 2018, challenges Teams to integrate a range of diverse, cutting-edge technologies to create a physical robotic Avatar System that will transport a person’s senses, actions and presence to a remote location in real time. The competition seeks to accelerate the development of robots as an integral part of human communications and increase the functionality and application of robots in society. The ultimate goal is for a person to feel as if they are truly where the Avatar is, experiencing a sense of Presence through the Avatar. David will cover the history of the competition as well as provide an end of year update.
David Locke | Senior Prize Director, ANA Avatar XPRIZE, XPRIZE
Integrating a Wide Range of Technologies
The Avatar is actually a system that brings together many cutting edge technologies such as the latest in robotics, spatial data acquisition, high level vision, spatialize audio, as well as the integration of human attributes within the Avatar form. One of the prime goals is to extend and enhance the types of sensory feedback that the Avatar system can convey back to a remote operator. One of the key sensory mechanisms to really feel one is present in a remote location is the sense of touch, in all its myriad forms.
Jacki Morie | Prize Technical Advisor, XPRIZE
XPRIZE: Moderated Panel Discussion
Featuring experts in haptics who will share their insights into where we are with today’s haptics and what it will take to make the fully functional Avatar of our future Vision.
  • Jacki Morie – Prize Technical Advisor, XPRIZE
  • David Locke – Senior Prize Director, ANA Avatar XPRIZE, XPRIZE
  • Ed Colgate – Co-Founder at Tanvas, Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Northwestern University, ANA Avatar XPRIZE Judge
  • Roberta Klatzky – Professor of Psychology, Faculty of the Human-Computer Interaction Institute and the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition, Carnegie Mellon University, ANA Avatar XPRIZE Advisor

David Locke | Senior Prize Director, ANA Avatar XPRIZE, XPRIZE
Panel Discussion
Haptics Industry Forum
Moderator: David Parisi, Ph.D. – Associate Professor of Emerging Media, College of Charleston
  • Dave Birnbaum – Distinguished Staff, Technology Strategy, Immersion Corporation
  • Eric Vezzoli – Haptics Architect, Interhaptics
  • Kyle Machulis – Founder and CEO, Nonpolynomial
  • Craig Douglass – CEO and Co-Founder, Contact CI
  • Tim Szeto -  CEO and Founder, Nanoport Technology Inc.

David Birnbaum | Senior Director, Technology Strategy, Immersion Corp.
End of Day Two