About Haptics

The essential nature of touch is connection. We use our hands to explore and understand our world by feeling the materials, textures, and shapes that compose every object in it. Our sense of touch provides a rich variety of information about the hardness, softness, malleability, or rigidity of these objects, and helps us identify the effort needed to manipulate them. Haptics is an emerging technology that involves transmitting digital information through the sense of touch. This hands-on form of interaction is achieved by using small actuated interfaces called haptic devices that apply force, vibration, and motion to the user.

Haptics (from the Greek {haptesthai} meaning to touch) was first introduced in the early 20th century by psychophysicists to label the sub-field of their studies that addressed human touch-based perception and manipulation.

During the 1970s and 1980s significant research efforts in a completely different field, robotics, began to focus on manipulation and perception by touch. Initially concerned with building autonomous robots, researchers soon discovered that building dexterous robotic hands with tactile capabilities was a challenge of much greater complexity and subtlety than they had initially hoped.

Near the turn of the millennium, a new way of using the word haptics appeared. Virtual or computer haptics emerged from the confluence of emerging technologies. Much like computer graphics, computer haptics enables the display of simulated objects to humans, but in an interactive way. This new sensory display modality presents information by exerting controlled forces on the human hand through a haptic interface, forces that depend on the physics of mechanical contact. Unlike our four other senses, haptics is bi-directional with energy and information flowing to, as well as from, the user.

Haptic technologies serve the ultimate purpose of designing our machines and computers to be easier to use. They are being integrated today in an increasing number of products ranging from smart phones to surgical robots. The field of haptics is experiencing rapid and exciting growth, offering opportunities to develop new active forms of intelligent and interactive interfaces that combine visual, sound, and tactile information.


About CHAI3D

First launched in 2003 at the Robotics and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at Stanford University, CHAI3D is a powerful cross-platform C++ simulation framework with over 100+ industries and research institutions developing CHAI3D based applications all around the world in segments such as automotive, aerospace, medical, entertainment and industrial robotics.

Designed as a platform agnostic framework for computer haptics, visualization and interactive real-time simulation, CHAI3D is an open source framework that supports a variety of commercially-available three-, six- and seven-degree-of-freedom haptic devices, and makes it simple to support new custom force feedback devices.

CHAI3D’s modular capabilities allows for the creation of highly-performing native haptic applications as well as for hybrid development where you can choose which components provide the best haptic and visual user experience.

The Red Sea Robotics Exploratorium, Robotics Lab, Stanford University