Haptics, the science and technology of programmable touch experiences, is increasingly used to improve functionality in virtual reality, robotics, and wearable applications. Investments by large companies such as Apple, Facebook, and Google are helping to drive growth in the field. Yet, haptic technology is complex and specialized, with advancements resulting from only a small group of experts and lab-based studies that do not scale to the diverse needs and preferences of users. My goal is to create a future where anyone can understand, access, and adapt touch technology for their needs. In this talk, I present my research in supporting three groups of future haptics creators: 1) end users, 2) interaction designers, and 3) haptics experts. I describe their mental models for haptics, demonstrate collections and tools that accumulate years of expert knowledge for novices, and present methods for running large-scale studies in haptics. Finally, I discuss the remaining steps toward a future where effective and fun virtual touch experiences are designed, tailored, and embraced by all.
Hasti Seifi is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Germany. She received her Ph.D. in computer science from the University of British Columbia in 2017, her M.Sc. from Simon Fraser University in 2011, and her B.Sc. from the University of Tehran in 2008. Her research interests lie at the intersection of human computer interaction, haptics, and information visualization. Hasti has published her work in top-tier venues such as ACM CHI and the IEEE World Haptics Conference and has won prestigious awards including an NSERC postdoctoral fellowship (2018), the Eurohaptics best Ph.D. thesis award in haptics (2017), and a Maria Klawe award for teaching and outreach in computer science (2017). Through her research, Hasti aims to empower novice users and designers to understand, access, and adapt haptic technology for their goals.