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Engineering Environments for Multi-Finger Haptic Interfaces

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  • Full or part time
    Prof Harwin
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

Project Description

Haptics is the science of perception, primarily through touch. Haptic interfaces enable individuals to interact with simulated worlds, most often using vision and hearing as well as touch, and then change these worlds. Most haptic simulations are set up to train surgical, dental or veterinary skills, however haptic interfaces will have an impact on all fields of technology, from better interface design through to advanced computer games. A problem with most of the current generation of haptic interfaces is that they provide the person with only a single point of contact in the virtual world. Work done in Reading has shown that it is possible to provide direct manipulation with multiple points of contact in a rigid body physical world. Demonstration of that work was limited to three points on a single hand. We intend to extend this research to enable bi-manual (use of both hands) and extend the simulation so more complex physics (cutting, tearing, gluing of hard and spongy materials). The primary focus of this thesis will be to develop the tools to enable bi-manual haptics and to begin to explore metaphors for more complex operations that might be required – for example how to indicate whether two objects should bounce or combine when brought into contact.

Duration: 36 months

Funding Notes

We welcome applications from self-funded students worldwide for this project.

Students from Brazil: we welcome and support applications for the Science Without Borders Scholarship (Ciência sem Fronteiras).


Applicants should have a bachelors (at least 2.1 or equivalent) or masters degree in Engineering, Physics, Applied Mathematics or a strongly related discipline. Candidates will need to acquire the ability to communicate their ideas clearly both as written documents and through seminar and conference style presentations. Experience in C++, python, Matlab, or similar programming and numerical packages are desirable.

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