I am currently investigating the perceptual mechanisms that allow us to turn fairly simple tactile information from multiple fingers into mental images of rich, coherent objects.
The NxR lab is currently developing touch screens which will allow users to feel elements on a touch screen such as textures, edges of buttons, etc. using force feedback. And in the future, we hope to be able to implement multi-touch force feedback in personal electronics.
The goal of my research is to allow us to make use of the brain's natural mechanisms for handling incomplete or ambiguous tactile information so that we can make sure our tactile effects are perceived in ways we intend. In essence, every tactile effect we display (such as a hockey puck you can grasp) is some sort of illusion because the screen is physically flat and smooth. The challenge is to 1) make sure the brain doesn't figure that out and 2) discover what other classes of tactile effects could potentially be rendered.
B.E. Mechanical Engineering Vanderbilt University 2008
M.S. Mechanical Engineering Northwestern University 2010