263-3712-00L  Advanced Seminar on Computational Haptics

SemesterSpring Semester 2021
LecturersO. Hilliges
Periodicityyearly recurring course
Language of instructionEnglish
CommentNumber of participants limited to 14.

The deadline for deregistering expires at the end of the second week of the semester. Students who are still registered after that date, but do not attend the seminar, will officially fail the seminar.


263-3712-00 SAdvanced Seminar on Computational Haptics2 hrs
Tue14:15-16:00STD G 1 »
O. Hilliges

Catalogue data

AbstractHaptic rendering technologies stimulate the user’s senses of touch and motion just as felt when interacting with physical objects. Actuation techniques need to address three questions: 1) What to actuate, 2) How to actuate it and 3) When to actuate it. We will approach each of these questions from a heavily technical perspective, with a focus on optimization and machine learning to find answers.
ObjectiveThe goal of the seminar is to familiarize students with exciting new research topics in this important area, but also to teach basic scientific writing and oral presentation skills.
ContentHaptics rendering is the use of technology that stimulates the senses of touch and motion that would be felt by a user interacting directly with physical objects. This usually involves hardware that is capable of delivering these senses. Three questions arise here: 1) What to actuate, 2) How to actuate it and 3) When to actuate. We will approach these questions from a heavy technical perspective that usually have an optimization or machine learning focus. Papers from scientific venues such as CHI, UIST & SIGGRAPH will be examined in-depth that answer these questions (partially). Students present and discuss the papers to extract techniques and insights that can be applied to software & hardware projects. Topics revolve around computational design, sensor placement, user state interference (through machine learning), and actuation as an optimization problem.

The seminar will have a different structure from regular seminars to encourage more discussion and a deeper learning experience. We will use a case-study format where all students read the same paper each week but fulfill different roles and hence prepare with different viewpoints in mind ( "presenter", "historian", "PhD", and “Journalist”).

The final deliverables include:
20 Minute presentation as presenter
5 Minute presentation as historian
1 A4 research proposal as the PhD
1 A4 summary of the discussion as the Journalist.

Example papers are:
Tactile Rendering Based on Skin Stress Optimization - (Link) SIGGRAPH 2020
SimuLearn: Fast and Accurate Simulator to Support Morphing Materials Design and Workflows - (Link) UIST 2019
Fabrication-in-the-Loop Co-Optimization of Surfaces and Styli for Drawing Haptics -(Link) SIGGRAPH 2020

For each topic, a paper will be chosen that represents the state of the art of research or seminal work that inspired and fostered future work. Students will learn how to incorporate computational methods into systems that involve software, hardware, and, very importantly, users.
LiteratureComputational Interaction, Edited by Antti Oulasvirta, Per Ola Kristensson, Xiaojun Bi, and Andrew Howes, 2018. PDF Freely available through the ETH Network.


Performance assessment

Performance assessment information (valid until the course unit is held again)
Performance assessment as a semester course
ECTS credits2 credits
ExaminersO. Hilliges
Typegraded semester performance
Language of examinationEnglish
RepetitionRepetition only possible after re-enrolling for the course unit.

Learning materials

Main linkInformation
Only public learning materials are listed.


No information on groups available.


Places14 at the most
Waiting listuntil 06.03.2021

Offered in

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Computer Science MasterSeminarWInformation
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Computer Science MasterSeminar in General StudiesWInformation