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The 2021 theme for explored The Technology of Tomorrow Is Buzzing Today: The Expanding World of Haptics. The 2021 agenda included presentations by Tanvas, Microsoft, MMT, Lofelt, Boréas Technologies Inc., Ultraleap, Sensel, and many more. Take a look at the 2021 agenda!

Features at the 2021 event included:

  • Over 20 speakers and panelists from Ford, Toyota, Interhaptics, Ultraleap, Microsoft, XPrize, Sensel, Boréas Technologies Inc., Ultraleap, and much more. Meet the 2021 Speakers >>>
  • PANEL: The Future of Automotive Technology, featuring Ford, Toyota, BMW, Ultraleap, Grewus, and more. Discussing where haptic automotive technology is going in the future – new products, technologies, and innovations.
  • Sessions covering the latest industry news. Including: Automotive Haptics, Gaming and XR, Wellness and Healthcare, Actuator Technology, Multimodal Haptics, The future of the industry, and Current Trends. View the 2021 agenda >>
  • Discussion-leading panels covering Industry Forums and SDOs – We Need Both, featuring Nanoport Technology, Inc. and Haptics Industry Forum, and The Future of Automotive Technology, featuring Moving Magnet Technologies.


Registration Open & Opening Remarks
Registration Open
Opening Remarks
Chelsea Kertes – Conference Producer, Smithers
Session One: Smart Haptics: Current Trends and Moving the Industry Forward
< Session Description >
Moderator: Nick Colonnese – Research Scientist, Facebook Reality Labs

In this opening session for Smart Haptics, industry leaders will talk about the current world of haptics, a market analysis and the latest trends, and dive into the world of standards and the importance of continuing to develop them as the industry advances. Here, these presentations will motivate you for the possibilities of what tomorrow can bring, and lead into an exciting conference.
Smart Haptics: Technology Ecosystem & Hardware Market Sizing
Almost two billion haptics-enabled devices shipped in 2020. Traditional markets such as smartphones and gaming remain strong, but it is less well-established markets such as automotive, wearables, and smart home that are expected to see strong growth. This will be driven by two main factors: increasing volumes in new markets; and a move towards multi-channel drivers.
A successful haptic solution requires integration of hardware, software, and design. Many vendors operate in the Haptic Technologies Market Value Chain, and partnerships are key.
To stimulate demand for haptics in traditional markets and drive new opportunities, smarter haptics solutions are needed that integrate into common operating systems and simplify their use for device designers.
In this presentation, Peter Cooney will discuss the different technologies and the major vendors in the supply chain, including the drivers, actuators, and software. He will also discuss projected market growth on a sector-by-sector basis and developments in haptic solutions.
Peter Cooney | COO, SAR Insight & Consulting
Haptic Mythbusting: How Today’s Most Promising Technologies Combine and Co-exist to Create More Meaningful Experiences
For years, the commercial application of haptic technology has predominantly been experienced in gaming consoles and the buzz of our smartphones. Now, with advancements in many types of haptic technology, consumers can experience a rich sense of touch across a broader range of environments including their cars and home automation products. Together, these myriad of haptic technologies can work together to increase our safety behind the wheel, deliver more holistic and accessible experiences, and redefine how we engage with the digital world.
This session will:
 - Debunk common misconceptions about the application and implementation of haptic technologies
- Demonstrate how a range of technologies can join forces to provide efficient, cost-effective and highly differentiated solutions
- Inspire attendees about the promise of what’s possible today and in the future
Kevin Klein | VP Marketing, Tanvas
Universal Haptics Protocol - An Inclusive Framework for Standardizing Haptics
It's the elephant in the room - fragmentation hinders the growth of haptics content in the ecosystem. One of the biggest challenges to tackle is a unified protocol for haptics, a monumental task. Under the Haptics Industry Forum, a working group was started by members to tackle this problem. Nanoport will present the design and framework for aligning protocols across ecosystems; strategy for propagation and adoption; and how the protocol will provide for the inclusion of future, yet-to-be-invented haptics technologies.
Tim Szeto | CEO and Founder, Nanoport Technology Inc.
Networking Break
PANEL: Haptics Standard Ascendant
  • Eric Vezzoli – CEO, Interhaptics
  • Robert Desautels – CTO, D-Box Technologies
  • Philippe Guillotel - Distinguished Scientist, InterDigital Research & Innovation
  • Chris Ullrich – CTO, Immersion
  • Tim Szeto – CEO, Nanoport Technology Inc.
Momentum has been building for haptic standards. There are now many organizations working to define haptic standards including Khronos, IEEE, MPEG, HIF, and more.
Over the past year, many of these initiatives have made significant progress. This panel will feature panelists contributing directly to those projects who will provide an overview of the various initiatives.
Audiences will learn:
  • The technologies and markets addressed by the initiatives, and their key goals
  • Why now, Recent achievements, current challenges, and upcoming milestones.
  • How to participate
Session II: Exploring the Future of Haptics
< Session Description >
Moderator: Dave Birnbaum – President, Haptics Industry Forum

The future of the industry is vast and ever expanding, and this session will explore some of those areas, including touchless aspects of haptics, new research applications, the importance of accessibility, and new products and innovations
How can we bring the sense of touch to touchless interfaces?
Over the past 18 months the world has seen interest in touchless technology grow. But how can we make sure the tactile feedback we get from touch remains as we go touchless first? In this session, Dr. William Frier, Lead

Haptics Researcher from Ultraleap, will discuss: 
  • The benefits of having self-service kiosks or touchscreens that have touchless capability.
  • Where virtual touch can fit in - Ultraleap’s unique mid-air haptic technology enables users to receive virtual tactile feedback without needing to wear or touch anything. 
  • What are the challenges and opportunities in letting users 'feel' touchless buttons and interact with virtual objects. 
  • The future of touchless technology and haptics.

William Frier | Senior Haptics Research Engineer, Ultraleap
Haptic technologies: enabling an e-human touch for hybrid retailing
Today’s shopping environment includes hybrid interactions from physical to virtual places. In this context, acknowledging the importance of sense for marketing, brands need to understand how they can reach out to consumer’s senses for product online shopping – How can a brand meet the need for sensory stimulation when shopping with mobile devices, particularly for experiential goods, and when the access to the physical product is highly restricted before purchase?
This presentation will dive into this question, and the fact that, if there would be haptic rendering technology enabling texture-like sensations in relation with the product haptic cues during a real-time interaction, would this enable consumers to better process product information? Dr. Margot Racat will explore this and so much more, having you left with contemplating the thought that technologies may be leading us towards new experiences of touch that we have yet to discover.
Dr. Margot Racat Ph.D. | Professor of Marketing, IDRAC Business School
Networking Lunch
From lab-on-a-chip to surface haptics: how microfluidics is enabling the creation of a novel tactile display for the blind
Over 50 million blind people worldwide lack sufficient access to information due to the high cost and limited capabilities of current assistive technologies. Meaningful access to information for blind people is possible through large-area tactile formats such as embossed braille pages and tactile graphics, but unfortunately these materials are currently not digitally accessible. NewHaptics is developing a first-of-its-kind tablet-like device that supports digital access to multiple lines of braille and tactile graphics.
Using an entirely new form of actuation based in microfluidics, hundreds of pressure-based actuators, each the size of the head of a pin, can be independently raised and lowered on a touch-sensing surface. Crucially, only a small number of electronic valves are required to control a much larger number of actuators. We show examples of an 840 actuator array refreshing under the control of 58 electronic valves in under 2 seconds.  The actuators themselves are soft and low weight, making them suitable for other applications in wearables and soft robotics.
Alex Russomanno | CEO, NewHaptics
New Opportunities for Haptic Touchpads in Laptops
In 2021, Lenovo adopted Sensel’s Pressure Grid force sensor and a third party haptic solution for its premium Thinkpad X1 Titanium Yoga laptop. As Windows Central's Daniel Rubino wrote in his excellent review, “the takeaway is haptic touchpads for Windows PCs are finally here, and the first impressions are excellent.

In this talk, Dean Chang will walk through the technology innovations that finally enabled a major PC OEM to bring a haptic touchpad to market. In the process, he will discuss the evolution of Sensel’s core technology offerings, from its Pressure Grid force sensor, to the recent development of its own Direct Drive haptic solution. Finally, he’ll explore future trends, including the exciting new specs and applications that haptic touchpads will unleash for PC customers.

Dean Chang | Director of Product Development, Sensel, Inc.
ANA Avatar XPRIZE Teams Headed towards Finals
Additional Presenter:
David Locke – Executive Prize Director, XPRIZE

After a successful Semifinals event held in Miami FL in September 2021, the ANA Avatar XPRIZE is pleased to present the first group of competing Teams headed towards the 2022 Finals. This has been a challenging year for a competition such as this, and yet our Teams have worked diligently to advance their technology. While not all were able to attend the first Semifinals round in Miami, we will be seeing more in early 2022, and expect an extremely dynamic group to compete in the Finals in late 2022. Along with these innovative Avatar systems, we are especially excited to showcase the Team’s new approaches to haptic technology they have developed.
Jacki Morie | Prize Technical Advisor, XPRIZE
Networking Break
Session III: Multimodal Haptics
Music:Not Impossible and The Art of Haptics
Initially a project created to improve the Deaf community's access to live music concerts, after many years of continuous development, Music:Not Impossible (M:NI) turned into a whole ecosystem for triggering human emotions and fostering artistic expression through the sense of touch. Blending art & science, visual arts & music, spatial audio & haptics, M:NI presents a new way of delivering a surround body experience to all, regardless of the hearing level.
Daniel Belquer | CTO/Co-Founder, Music:Not Impossible
Music Haptics: Elevate the mobile music listening experience with haptics
QQ Music is one of the largest online music streaming platforms in China. In September 2020,
QQ music app brought the first music haptics experience to online music streaming services. Our
technology scans the music library and automatically extract the most significant rhythm
information from the audio data, and then drives the haptic motors on mobile phones to play with
the music synchronously. This touchable listening experience helped our users to really get
immersed into the beat and made them feel like they were actually in a concert. A standard
Tencent Music Haptics file format is established and new songs are automatically analyzed and
imported into our music haptics database. 
Xiang Cao | Software Engineering Manager, Tencent Music Entertainment Group
Networking Reception
Session IV: Haptics Pitching Hour – Poster Session displayed in exhibit hall
Physical knobs and scroll wheels - outdated or just in dire need of an upgrade?
XeelTech elevates the longest proven input device into the 21st century, combining the flexibility of virtual controls with the benefits of tangible rotary input devices through fully programmable mechanical haptic force feedback.
In this talk, Philipp Sachs will discuss HAPTICORE, an innovative haptic feedback technology, and how it bridges the gap between physical input devices and state-of-the-art user experiences with tailored haptic feedback for every interaction.
Pieter Klep | eCommerce Manager Benelux & UK, Mondi
What is the Pitching hour?
Speakers will have 8-10 minutes to explain their company, technology/product, and requirement before taking questions from the audience.

NEW: Updated Pitching Hour – Poster Session:
This session will be opened up to all new and exciting smart haptic technologies, research, etc. whether it is about H.E.A.R.T., automotive, health and wellness, gaming, or any other area that is utilizing haptic tecehnology!
Closing Remarks
Chelsea Kertes – Conference Producer, Smithers
Registration Open & Opening Remarks
Registration Open
Opening Remarks
Chelsea Kertes – Conference Producer, Smithers
Session V: Advancements in Actuator Technology
Delivering realistic VR interactions using SMA haptics
Shape Memory Alloy (SMA) haptics technology delivers realistic and comfortable Virtual Reality (VR) interactions. This presentation will explain how SMA haptic touch pads provide direct force feedback to fingertips and SMA controlled modules give fingers in VR gloves the sensation of holding physical objects. SMA’s core advantages of size and strength deliver comfortably slim and lightweight gloves. Cambridge Mechatronics Ltd’s experience in delivering SMA actuators at low cost in smartphones offers a unique opportunity to deliver a VR glove priced for the consumer market.
James Howarth | Director of Engineering, Cambridge Mechatronics Ltd.
Mobile Gaming and Piezo Haptics
Mobile gaming is a fast-growing market that generated 72% of all mobile apps revenues in 2020. Therefore, many OEMs are launching dedicated gaming smartphones trying to replicate the console-like user experience that customers love. Haptics plays a crucial role in achieving an immersive gaming experience within the physical limitations of a mobile platform. In this talk, we will present how piezo actuators can improve usability and enhance the gaming experience on smartphones through three case studies:
  1. On-screen localized display haptics
  2. Configurable shoulder buttons
  3. NexusTouchTM smart surface
These case studies will present how the recent advancement in piezo actuators technology can improve the mobile gaming user experience.
Simon Chaput | Founder and CEO, Boréas Technologies Inc.
Session VI: Haptics for Wellness and Healthcare
The HugShirt: Reach out and touch someone. From consumer to medical use, interface evolution and user needs
Francesca's talk will cover the development of CuteCircuit's HugShirt from the initial consumer product to the newest medical version.
Highlights will be how touch improves mental and physical wellbeing through connectedness and how the HugShirt has been used during the pandemic with immunocompromised people in hospitals and care homes. The talk will cover both design and usability insights.

Francesca Rosella | Chief Creative Director and Co-Founder, CuteCircuit
Networking Break
Skin-Like Interfaces for Full Body Haptic Experiences
Advanced, immersive systems for virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR) promise to transform the way that we interact with computer-generated environments and, by extension, with one another.  Although audio-visual aspects of VR/AR hardware are increasingly well developed, a frontier, underexplored opportunity is in the development of interfaces that add spatio-temporally controlled physical sensations to the VR/AR experience, with the skin, beyond the fingertips, as the input interface.  This talk introduces a collection of foundational ideas that enable a unique, new class of technology for this purpose – thin, soft, lightweight sheets that embed wirelessly controlled arrays of millimeter-scale vibro-haptic actuators, capable of gently laminating onto the skin at nearly any region of the body.  These systems qualitatively expand the VR/AR interface through complex patterns of physical sensory inputs, time-coordinated with visual and auditory cues.  Examples in social media, medicine, rehabilitation, gaming and navigation will be presented.
John Rogers | Professor of Engineering, Northwestern University
Session VII: The Gaming World and Continuing Expansion of XR
Challenges for spatialized haptics
Today haptic effects are, most of the time, designed for a specific device. For instance, a vibration simulates a gunshot on a game controller or a notification on a smartphone. The user's body is rarely considered in these situations. Yet, with immersive virtual environment, there are additional issues to overcome to add realism to the user experience. This talk will address some of those challenges, such as how to localize the effects in space? How to manage the interactions between the effect and the object or with the user movement? How to control the impact on the user depending on his position or perception properties? How to create such experiences whatever the setup used by the user?
Philippe Guillotel | Distinguished Scientist, InterDigital
How much haptics do we need in VR?
Haptics rendering lags behind the quality of visual and audio rendering in virtual reality (VR). In recent years’ researchers has demonstrated a variety of haptic controllers to enable users to touch virtual objects, grab them, squish elastic material, throw and catch virtual objects.  Adding more rendering functionality to devices may make them more complex, expensive, and unreliable for consumer use, and even with all the complexity. Furthermore, works such as 'uncanny valley of haptics' shows that during VR experiences, enhanced haptic feedback incongruent with other sensory cues can reduce subjective realism. On the other hand, our perception of haptics is not complete either. The gaps of perceptions, developed by our evolution can be used to better focus our rendering, and hide limitations.
Eyal Ofek | Principal Researchers, Microsoft
Networking Lunch
PANEL: The Importance of Accessibility in VR/MR


  • Eric Vezzoli – CEO Haptics Architect, Interhaptics
  • Laura Chadwick – Senior Director, Industry Relations, XR Association
  • James Herndon – Technical Writer and Accessibility Consultant, Equal Entry
This panel will explore the need for more accessibility in virtual reality/mixed reality with experts both within the world of haptics and outside of it. Closed captions will be used for this panel.
Session VIII: Innovations in Automotive Haptics
Configurable Haptic Controller Technology
A new contactless haptic rotary controller technology is presented: an active configurable
Rotary Controller. This technology was initially developed to be able to switch between 2 Haptic
modes and to consume power only when switching between modes, making it a low power
consumption solution. This technology is based on magnetic effects (EPM principle) with no
moving parts inside the controller to generate the haptic feeling, making it a solution with no
noise and no wear. Combined with a contactless position sensor, one can create and
program/reconfigure a range of different haptic effects using a same hardware. The technology
principle will be explained and examples of potential applications such as rotary knobs, shifters
and switches will be shown with a focus on Automotive applications.
Bullet points: Haptic rotary controller, Multimodal, Reconfigurable/programmable, Magnetic solution
Gerald Masson | Technical Specialist – Mechatronics, Moving Magnet Technologies
Networking Break
Quantification of Haptics
The biggest challenge in evaluating, specifying, and quantifying haptics is to consider the complete application. Not only the technical specifications of the actuator (especially piezo and electromagnetic).
In automotive Tier 1, many are familiar with the specifications of mechanical switches (S-curve). However, active haptic requires different parameters: target haptic, human perception filter, and physical parameters. In order to specify and optimize all these parameters already during development, one or more test systems must be used. In addition, all these data are necessary to describe haptic feedback (e.g., acceleration values under the influence of force, latency, and trigger thresholds must be measured).
Elisa Santella | Managing Director, Grewus
PANEL: The Future of Automotive Technology
  • Gerald Masson - Technical Specialist – Mechatronics, Moving Magnet Technologies
  • Elisa Santella – Managing Director, Grewus
  • Srikanth Hari – Technical Program Manager, Ford Motor Company
  • Dr. Manuel Kuehner – Staff Haptics Engineer, Toyota Research Institute
  • Brian Kappus – Automotive R&D Director, Ultraleap
This panel will discuss where haptic automotive technology is going in the future – new products, technologies, and innovations.
Closing Remarks