Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Workshop / Seminar

School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering Seminar Series, “Growing the Tactile Gamut” Presented by Dr. J Edward Colgate

Engineering Teaching Research Laboratory (ETRL), Pullman, WA
Located in ETRL 101; Zoom (Meeting ID 993 0284 1249).
View location in Google Maps

About the event

Over the past ten to fifteen years, great progress has been made in displaying virtual textures to the bare fingertips using technologies such as ultrasonic friction modulation and electroadhesion.  Less progress has been made, however, in achieving a high degree of realism with virtual textures, or in building intuitive tools for texture design.  An underlying problem is the lack of an effective texture representation.  Most people understand that sounds can be represented as vibratory waveforms, and images can be represented as arrays of colored pixels, but few would be able to describe a useful representation for touch. In this talk, I’ll review the work that my laboratory has been doing on the development of new tactile display technologies, as well as the mathematical representation of tactile textures.  Because touch is highly multi-modal (vibration, shape, temperature, etc.), the range of textures that can be perceived in the physical world is incredibly large.  To make the problem easier, we’ve asked:  what is the range of textures – the “tactile gamut” – that can be displayed with a particular technology?  Also, what is an effective representation of this range and how can tools be developed to simplify the design of new textures?  Finally, how can the realism of virtual textures be improved?  I’ll review a number of the things we’ve learned as we’ve tried to answer these questions.

J. Edward Colgate is a professor of Mechanical Engineering at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.  Dr. Colgate’s principal research interests are haptic interfaces and human-robot interaction. Dr. Colgate was the founding Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE Transactions on Haptics.  He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, a Fellow of the IEEE and of the National Academy of Inventors, and a member of the Chicago Area Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame. Dr. Colgate was one of the founding co-directors of the Segal Design Institute at Northwestern University where he directed the Master of Science in Engineering Design and Innovation, which combines graduate-level engineering courses with a broad exposure to human-centered design.  Colgate and collaborator Michael Peshkin are the inventors of cobots, which led to their first startup together, Cobotics Inc.   Their second startup, Kinea Design, developed advanced physical therapy robots and prosthetic limbs.  Their third company together, Tanvas Inc., is commercializing innovative surface haptic technologies that allow users to feel tactile effects on a touch screen.