Imperial College London was the host of Eurohaptics 2016, the main international European conference for researchers in haptics and touch-enabled computer applications. The conference was held at South Kensington over 4-7 July 2016 and was organised by Imperial College London in partnership with University College London, University of Reading, University of Bristol and University of Birmingham.
Eurohaptics 2016 was a great opportunity for researchers – drawn from disciplines such as neuroscience, psychology and robotics – to meet and present their work with the goal of improving understanding of the sense of touch from a physiological and perceptual perspective, devising new haptic devices and investigating better ways of controlling and interacting with them.
Haptics is a growing field, with awareness amongst the wider public also on the rise thanks to the increasing use of haptic technology in mobile devices. Eurohaptics 2016 included public-focused evening events at the Royal Society and Royal Institution.
Imperial College’s Centre for Engagement and Simulation Science (ICCESS) played a leading role in the conference, with Centre Director Dr Fernando Bello as both Programme co-Chair and local co-Chair, and Dr Alejandro Granados-Martinez showcasing the haptic rectal examination trainer he has developed. His innovative device attracted a great deal of media coverage over the conference period, with articles in the Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail and Vice Magazine, to name a few.
Keynote speakers at Eurohaptics 2016 included Professor Stephen Brewster (University of Glasgow), Dr Henrik Jörntell (Lund University, Sweden) and Professor Blake Hannaford (University of Washington, USA), who acknowledged challenges in the design of haptic devices and how we could improve this by studying brain circuitry during tactile skin sensing and by enhancing the way we interact with them.
Eurohaptics 2016 was attended by nearly 400 delegates from 26 countries and was therefore the largest event in the history of the conference.
Read about the rectal examination trainer on the Daily Telegraph website.
Listen to Guardian Science Weekly podcast on haptics featuring Dr Fernando Bello.
Imperial College Centre for Engagement and Simulation Science