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ME 327: Design and Control of Haptic Systems


Welcome to ME 327: Design and Control of Haptic Systems. In this class, we will study the design and control of haptic systems, which provide touch feedback to human users interacting with virtual environments and teleoperated robots. This class is aimed toward graduate students and advanced undergraduates in engineering and computer science. This class requires a background in dynamic systems and programming. Experience with feedback control and mechanical prototyping is also useful. Attendance is required if you are taking the class; guests/auditors are welcome. Course information and policies are contained in the syllabus. (Note that the final lecture schedule, assignment due dates, etc. are given on this web page; dates and topics listed in the syllabus are tentative.) This course covers device modeling (kinematics and dynamics), synthesis and analysis of control systems, design and implementation of mechatronic devices, and human-machine interaction. For a course focused more on 3D haptic rendering and integration with graphics, CS 277 Experimental Haptics is also taught (occasionally -- and not likely this year).

The primary instructor is Allison Okamura, Professor in Mechanical Engineering at Stanford University. Allison has been a professor in the fields of haptics and medical robotics for about 15 years. The course assistants are Sam Schorr and Yuhang Che, Ph.D. students in Mechanical Engineering with extensive experience in haptic device design, control, and human-machine systems.

LecturesTuTh 10:30-11:50 am in Gates B12
Lab and Project SpaceAs needed in 520-145
Allison's Office HoursMondays and Wednesdays 2-3 pm in 550-107
Sam's Office HoursMondays and Wednesdays 3-4 pm in 520-145
Yuhang's Office HoursTuesdays at Thursdays 3-4 pm in 520-145

For announcements and questions/answers, please use piazza at Grades will be posted at


PDFs of lecture slides will be posted before lecture when possible.
9/22Lecture 1: Introduction to haptics
9/24Lecture 2: Kinesthetic haptic devices: Design, kinematics and dynamics
9/29Lecture 3: Kinesthetic haptic devices: Rendering
10/1Lecture 4: Kinesthetic haptic devices: Sensors and Actuators
10/6Lecture 5: Kinesthetic haptic devices: Control
10/8Lecture 6: Human haptics: Mechanoreception and Kinesthesia (experiment)


The dates below show when the assignment is distributed. Assignments will usually be due one week after distribution (the due date will be written on the assignment), and can be submitted in class or to the ME 327 dropbox outside the door to the area where Allison's office is. (Access to solutions is restricted to students in the class; if you are not in the class and wish to see the solutions, email Allison and please explain who you are and what you will use the solutions for.)

9/22Background survey
9/24Assignment 1: Hapkit device modeling and construction (Matlab template for problem 5, Hapkit parts list, Hapkit assembly instructions, Hapkit Solidworks files)
10/6Assignment 2: Rendering on a kinesthetic haptic device (Hapkit Arduino code template)

Students in the class will create and use their own versions of Hapkit, a new haptic device created specifically for haptics education. Note: For this class, use only Hapkit information posted on the ME 327 website, because it is different from that on the Hapkit website.


Any required readings will be identified in the assignments. Links to PDFs of readings are posted here, listed by posting date.

9/22K. E. MacLean. Haptic interaction design for everyday interfaces. Reviews of Human Factors and Ergonomics, 4:149-194, 2008. {pdf}
9/22B. Hannaford and A. M. Okamura. Chapter 30: Haptics. In B. Siciliano and O. Khatib, Eds., Handbook of Robotics. Springer, pp. 718-735, 2008. {pdf}
9/22V. Hayward and K. E. MacLean. Do It Yourself Haptics, Part I. IEEE Robotics and Automation Magazine, 14(4):88-104, 2007. {pdf}
10/6D. W. Weir and J. E. Colgate. Stability of haptic displays. In M. C. Lin and M. Otaduy, Eds., Haptic Rendering: Foundations, Algorithms, and Applications. AK Peters, 2008. {pdf}
10/6R. B. Gillespie and M. R. Cutkosky. Stable user-specific rendering of the virtual wall. Proceedings of the ASME International Mechanical Engineering Conference and Exposition, DSC-Vol. 58, pp. 397-406, 1996. {pdf}


Paper comprehension and presentation are important skills for research and development, and paper presentations will introduce the class to a wide variety of haptic systems. Each team will give one 25-minute paper presentation/activity (10-minute talk, 5-minute Q&A, 10-minute activity) to the class.


The project is to develop a novel haptic system for understanding or augmenting human perception and performance in virtual or teleoperated environments. The project must include bidirectional haptic interaction between a person or a robot and a real, remote, or virtual environment, and a corresponding experiment to characterize human/system capabilities.

Final project demonstrations will be shown at a "Haptics Demo Day" on Thursday, December 3 from 10:30-11:50 am (location TBD).