IEEE World Haptics 2017

Student Innovation Challenge Program

SIC.1 – Tactile EMF Sandbox

Team name: Tactile EMF Sandbox
Affiliation: McGill University, Montréal, Canada
Members: Patrick Ignoto, David Abraham, Dirk Dubois

Teaching electrostatics and magnetostatics by feel. The Tactile EMF Sandbox provides students an environment to learn about electromagnetic forces, transforming these traditionally abstract concepts into something they can physically sense.

We propose a system for active learning of electrostatics and magnetostatics, using open-source haptic force-feedback devices. Students can explore and feel the forces exerted and generated by static electromagnetic (EM) fields and discover their physical relationships. This system is ideal for STEM students learning electromagnetics, where electrostatics and magnetostatics are being examined for the first time. Current visualization tools are abstract and do not provide students with a sense of how these unintuitive electromagnetic phenomena interact. Since electrostatic fields exert forces on particles within their domains, haptic force-feedback devices are an excellent vehicle for teaching the core concepts of electromagnetism. Notions such as inverse- square force, fields created and experienced by static point charges, currents, voltages, or even equipotentials can be intuitively understood through the tactile sense. This project aims to create a toolkit to teach all the aforementioned concepts using self teaching and active learning approaches.

SIC.2 – Charges and Fields – An electrostatic virtual lab

Team name: Eduhap
Affiliation: University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
Members: Soheil Kianzad, Matthew Chun, Lotus Hanzi Zhang

Electrostatic principles are among the key elements of high school physics curriculum. Our electrostatic virtual lab combines scientific visualization with force feedback to provide an interactive environment for educational purposes.

Learning abstract electrostatic concepts such as Coulomb’s law can be very difficult for students. Understanding the complex configuration of electric fields and their associated geometric directions/magnitudes of attractive/repulsive forces between point charges in relation to distance is simply challenging to picture. We believe that interactive visualizations coupled with convincing haptic feedback can better convey the physics behind electrical fields. By making the unseen, more tangible, students will be more willing to put in the effort to experiment and understand the electrostatic principles and physics behind Coulomb’s law. Here we propose a virtual lab with designed lessons to direct student’s engagement and curiosity to predefined learning objectives.

SIC.3 – Haptic Gas Lab

Team name: University of Reading
Affiliation: University of Reading
, Reading, UK
Members: Louis Swaidani, Guy Butcher

The ideal gas laws represent perhaps the most unintuitive concept at their level of science education. Using Haptic feedback students can feel and understand the concept of diffuse particulate matter.

Haptic Gas Lab will be designed as a virtual laboratory environment which allows students to interact with gases which are modelled as a body of diffuse particles freely colliding in a container. As students manipulate the gases in experiments they will feel the force and frequency of collisions and see how this relates to pressure. They will also learn about the relationships between pressure, volume, temperature and mass through play and experimentation. The project intends to use the hapkit device as a plunger on a virtual gas jar of variable volume. Students will feel the ‘pressure’ exerted on it in the form of collisions from the gas particles inside. The software will be built in the Unreal engine for use on a PC.

SIC.4 – Smart Porters

Team name: Fancy Carp
Affiliation: Beijing Institute of Technology, Beijing, China
Members: Lu Zhao, Geliang Tian, Zhuoluo Ma

Combining education with recreation—funny, attracting, and efficiency; Participating in content design—train students’ autonomic learning and practice; Reasonable calculation for haptic rendering—simulate the mechanical motion in real world.


To train the students’ intrinsic motivation and ability of solving practical problems, “Smart porters” is designed as a game that some objects should be transported across a river and to a house. The teaching content in the game contains basic theories of the physical properties of matter and mechanical force and motion. The knowledge includes the mass, density, friction, spring force, buoyancy, lever, slope and pulley. With the concepts and the computing methods taught, students can create tools in the game to transport the objects according to the attribute characteristics of the materials and place them in proper position. The interaction is working with the Haply Dev Kit. With different mechanical tools are chosen and assembled, the values of the forces are calculated and the haptic feedbacks are presented with Haply, which contributes to the understand about the physical concepts of the force and motion more clearly by students.

SIC.5 – TouchTactic

Team name: Team Nero
Affiliation: İstanbul Teknik Üniversitesi, Istanbul, Turkey
Members: Anıl Özen, Oguzcan Ünver

TouchTatic will simulate statics applications with real touch and feel.

A Haply device will be integrated in an open-source statics simulator. The program will simulate building blueprints. The users will be able to move the pointer freely across the screen, except when encountering the building. When the pointer comes across to the building, the Haply device will apply the force of the user to the virtual building and the reactive opposite force from the building to the user. The results of the applied force will be shown on the screen. This project intends to be an interactive supporting material on Physics, Statics, Material Science and other relevant courses.

SIC.6 – Wunder Wasser

Team name: Penn Haptics
Affiliation: University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA
Members: Brian Wright, Jaimie Carlson

Experience pressures and the feeling of velocity vectors of moving fluids— compressible or not, with or without turbulence, and Newtonian or non-Newtonian.


A 3-dimensional fluid dynamics simulation would be displayed on a tablet equipped with the Haply [2-dimensional force feedback] kinematic linkage. The Stanford Hapkit [1-dimensional force feedback paddle] would provide an additional communication channel. Cross-sections of the simulation could be explored on the tablet while the third dimension component of interest (into/out of the screen) is rendered on the Hapkit. An on-screen UI element allows the user to toggle simplifications and force components.

SIC.7 – HandsOn-Computing: Promoting Algorithmic Thinking through Haptic Educational Robots

Team name: Handson Computing
Affiliation: Sabancı Üniversitesi, Istanbul, Turkey
Members: Ata Otaran, Yusuf Mert Senturk, Gokay Coruhlu

In this study, we propose to use force-feedback educational robotic devices (Haptic Paddles) for hands-on teaching of algorithms, mainly to high school students.

With the rising importance of computational thinking and strong foundation in computing, computer science has been rapidly expanding into K12 education. We propose a both haptic and graphical user interface that helps students to learn basic algorithms independently from specific programming languages. Our sample sorting applications inputs a certain number of identical looking springs with different spring ratios. The goal is to systematically sort the springs according to their stiffness. The GUI systematically guides the user to perform pairwise comparisons and swapping between relevant springs as necessitated by the algorithm. The use of haptic feedback for comparisons provides an effective means of data hiding, as the stiffness of each spring becomes available only during/after physical interaction with that spring. The GUI also provides visual feedback about the current status of the algorithm by displaying the iteration count, the progress during each iteration, and termination condition.

SIC.8 – Haptic Biomechanics Lab

Team name: Haptic Biomechanics Lab
Affiliation: Stanford University, Stanford, USA
Members: Robert Carrera, Harine Ravichandiran, Rohan Khanna

The Haptic Biomechanics Lab allows students to interact with virtual muscles and discover how muscles generate different forces and torques through observation and experimentation.

We can help students develop an understanding of muscle mechanics by translating messy muscle force and torque equations into a visual and haptic experience. The student can then make correlations between muscle parameters and muscle force through observation and experimentation. The student interacts with on-screen “experiments”, using the Hapkit to feel forces generated by the virtual muscle. The Hapkit modified with a force-sensitive resistor allow the user to control the experiment with analog position and force inputs, while navigating between experiments using a low-cost LCD touchscreen. The visuals are created with the open-source Adafruit graphics library. This platform creates a memorable experience by leveraging various visual and haptic channels. The low-cost and standalone Haptic Biomechanics Lab works well for small groups of students in a classroom. The unique observations-based format allows students to take notes and reach conclusions about how muscle parameters affect muscle force generation.

SIC.9 – Waves of Music: Hear, Feel, See and Learn!

Team name: UABC Faculty of Science
Affiliation: Universidad Autónoma de Baja California, Mexicali, México
Members: Adolfo Esteban Fragoso Magallanes, Sandy González Rivera, Rafael Peralta Blanco, Erik Uziel Gallardo Romero

We will create a dynamic learning environment in which the user will learn physics of waves by interacting with a virtual drum using both the Hapkit and Haply devices.

Learning and understanding the physics of sound waves is not an easy task, even for undergraduate physics students. As students, we believe the best way for learning such concepts is by hands-on experiences that connect theoretical principles with physical reality. As pointed out by some authors, interacting with educational simulations that use multi–sensory inputs (visual, auditive, and/or haptic) might improve abstract concept learning in the domain of physics. Motivated by this idea, we introduce the concept of “touching a sound wave”, giving the user the ability to experience with his/her hands the sound wave propagation. We propose to create a dynamic learning environment in which the user will learn physics of waves by interacting with a virtual drum using both the Hapkit and Haply devices.