ME Seminar on "Engineering Touch"

Yon Visell


Monday, October 5, 2015 - 3:30pm to 4:30pm


ESB 1001


Dr. Yon Visell, Assistant Professor, UCSB, Media Arts & Technology, and Electrical and Computer Engineering

A longstanding goal of engineering research has been to realize technologies that can reflect the remarkable prehensile, sensory, and behavioral capabilities of biological systems for touch, including the human hand. This objective remains far from reality, due in part to the difficulty of specifying, electronically capturing, and reproducing the mechanical stimuli involved. These difficulties can be traced to the high dimensionality, to the multiple length and time scales spanned by these signals, to their dependence on motor behavior and on contact mechanical interactions with the environment. I will describe research in my lab that has aimed at quantifying and overcoming these challenges, and will explain how we are using the results to develop new technologies for wearable computing and soft robotics.

Dr. Visell's research focuses on haptic engineering, robotics, and the mechanics and neuroscience of touch. His work is motivated by creative applications in haptic human-computer interaction, sensorimotor augmentation, and interaction in virtual reality. From Fall 2015, he is Assistant Professor at UC Santa Barbara, in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department and Media Arts & Technology Graduate Program.  Assistant Professor (2013-2015) in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, Drexel University. Post-Doctoral Fellow (2011-2012) at the Institute of Intelligent Systems and Robotics, Université Pierre et Marie Curie Paris 06. PhD degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering at McGill University's Center for Intelligent Machines (2011).  MA and BA degrees in Physics (Univ. Texas-Austin and Wesleyan Univ.). He has collaborated on international initiatives in the domains of haptics, robotics and VR. He spent more than 5 years in industrial R&D at a number of high technology firms, including Ableton, where he contributed to music software that is now used by artists worldwide, from Pete Townshend to Vijay Iyer and Nine Inch Nails.

Author of more than 40 peer reviewed articles, and editor of two books on interaction in virtual reality, including (with F. Steinicke, A. Lécuyer, and J. Campos) "Human Walking in Virtual Environments: Perception, Technology, and Applications", Springer Verlag, Series in Engineering, 2013. His work has received a number of awards, including Best Paper at the 2010 IEEE Haptics Symposium. He has been featured in popular media including New Scientist, Technology Review (MIT), Tech Crunch, and Fast Company, and has exhibited at SIGGRAPH Emerging Technologies, Ircam/Centre Pompidou, Design Biennale St. Etienne, Ars Electronica, INC Miami, V2 Institute, FoAM Brussels, Phaeno Science Center, the city of Ivrea, Italy, the city of Kortrijk, Belgium, and elsewhere.

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