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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 (D'Arbeloff Teaching Lab)
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
520-145 (D'Arbeloff Teaching Lab) schedule

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

ME 327 Autumn 2015 Students


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)
10/13Lecture 7: Tactile haptic devices: Types and applications
10/15Lecture cancelled
10/20Lecture 8: Teleoperation
10/22Lecture 9: Teleoperation, continued
10/27Lecture 10: Project and Presentation discussion
10/29Lecture 11: Psychophysics and User Studies
11/3Lecture 12: Kinesthetic haptic devices: Higher degrees of freedom
11/5Lecture 13: Statistics for user studies

Below are the papers to be presented by students during Lectures 14-17.

11/10A. Chabrier, F. Gonzalez, F. Gosselin, and W. Bachta. Analysis of the directions in which forces are applied on the hand during manual manipulation and exploration. IEEE World Haptics Conference (WHC), pp. 280?-285, 2015.{pdf} (presented by Group 2 -- Erica, Michael, Connie)
11/10C. Gallacher, J. Willes, and J. Kovecses. Parasitic effects of device coupling on haptic performance. IEEE World Haptics Conference, pp. 266-272 , 2015.{pdf} (presented by Group 9 -- Joseph, Brian, Mary)
11/10V. Khambadkar and E. Folmer. A tactile-proprioceptive communication aid for users who are deafblind. IEEE Haptics Symposium, pp. 239-245, 2014. {pdf} (presented by Group 5 -- Ali, Benjamin, Boqi)
11/12Y. Wei, C. Scheffer, and B. Hughes. Early braille reading as an exploratory procedure: Perceptual sensitivity to numerosity and cell content. IEEE Haptics Symposium, pp. 57-61, 2014{pdf} (presented by Group 6 -- Lizzie, Inrak, Caitlin)
11/12H. Lee and S. Choi. Combining Haptic Guidance and Haptic Disturbance: An Initial Study of Hybrid Haptic Assistance for Virtual Steering Task. IEEE Haptics Symposium. Pages 159-165. 2014.{pdf} (presented by Group 10 -- Cara, Joey, Davis)
11/12F. Mars, M. Deroo, and J.-M. Hoc. Analysis of human-machine cooperation when driving with different degrees of haptic shared control. IEEE Transactions on Haptics, 7(3):324-333, 2014.{pdf} (presented by Group 1 -- Antoine, Bo, Mishel)
11/17T. Nukarinen, J. Rantala, A. Farooq, and R. Raisamo. Delivering Directional Haptic Cues Through Eyeglasses and a Seat. World Haptics Conference, 2015. pp. 345?350, 2015.{pdf} (presented by Group 7 -- Greg, Adam, Quinton)
11/17A. G. Perez, D. Lobo, F. Chinello, G. Cirio, M. Malvezzi, J. San Martin, D. Prattichizzo, and M. A. Otaduy. Soft finger tactile rendering for wearable haptics. IEEE World Haptics Conference, pp. 327-332, 2015.{pdf} (presented by Group 4 -- Chi-Chun, Tsung-Yuan, Jheng-Hao)
11/17M. Bianchi, M. Poggiani, A. Serio, and A. Bicchi. A Novel Tactile Display for Softness and Texture Rendering in Tele?Operation Tasks. IEEE World Haptics Conference, pp. 49-?56, 2015.{pdf} (presented by Group 8 -- Andrew, Kayo, Douglas)
11/19W. M. Bergmann Tiest and V. Hayward. Inside vs. outside: Haptic perception of object size. IEEE World Haptics Conference, pp. 94-99, 2015.{pdf} (presented by Group 3 -- Robert, Nathan, Rohan)


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) (Solutions)
10/6Assignment 2: Rendering on a kinesthetic haptic device (Hapkit Arduino code template) (Solutions)
10/14Assignment 3: Haptic controls and vibration feedback (Example laser-cut handle design, Hapkit Board pinouts) (Solutions)
10/22Assignment 4: Teleoperation, Graphics, and Perception (Teleoperation Arduino code template) (Solutions)

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}
10/14K. Hashtrudi-Zaad and S. E. Salcudean, Analysis of Control Architectures for Teleoperation Systems with Impedance/Admittance Master and Slave Manipulators. International Journal of Robotics Research, 20(6):419-445, 2001. {pdf}
10/14B. Hannaford, Design framework for teleoperators with kinesthetic feedback. IEEE Transactions on Robotics and Automation, 5(4):426-434, 1989. {pdf}
10/14J. J. Abbott and A. M. Okamura, Stable Forbidden-Region Virtual Fixtures for Bilateral Telemanipulation. ASME Journal of Dynamic Systems, Measurement, and Control, Vol. 128, pp. 53-64, 2006. {pdf}
10/22 L. A. Jones. Peripheral Mechanisms of Touch and Proprioception. Canadian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology, 1994, 72(5): 484-487. {pdf}
10/22A. B. Vallbo and R. S. Johansson. Properties of cutaneous mechanoreceptors in the human hand related to touch sensation. Human Neurobiology, 3:3-14, 1984. {pdf}
10/22 T. E. Murphy, R. J. Webster and A. M. Okamura, "Design and Performance of a Two-Dimensional Tactile Slip Display," Eurohaptics, pp. 130-137, 2004. {pdf}
10/22R. J. Webster III, T. E. Murphy, L. N. Verner, and A. M. Okamura, "A Novel Two-Dimensional Tactile Slip Display: Design, Kinematics and Perceptual Experiment," ACM Transactions on Applied Perception, 2(2):150-165, 2005. {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.

Paper presentation assignment
Presentation evaluation form


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.

Project assignment

Linear Amplifier Schematic
Linear Amplifier Layout
Writing Advice
Latex and Word paper templates

Final project demonstrations were shown at a Haptics Open House on Thursday, December 3 from 10:30-11:50 am in 520-145 (d'Arbeloff Teaching Laboratory).