Updated on September 10th, 2002

I wish to thank everybody for their interest in the project.  Thanks to the enthusiasm of the researchers that have signed-up, it is now possible to have a year-long series of monthly Society lectures, with topics that range from rehabilitation, mental health, perception and physiology, to haptic rendering and devices, teleoperation and  visualization.

 List of researchers interested in joining the Society.

Summary of comments submitted by the community.

Dear members of the haptics community:

I would like to invite all of you to start a professional, international, not-for-profit Society for Haptics. Intended to promote and exchange knowledge about all aspects of the field, the Society would exploit today's communication technology to offer the following  two initial benefits to members:

1. A virtual seminar series, presenting lectures by Society members. The lectures would be made available to members through the World Wide Web. To minimize costs and simplify technical requirements, the lectures would consist of a computer audio file containing the pre-recorded lecture and a set of slides to accompany it. The members  would download the lecture and slides from the Society's websites, and listen to it on their computer. The slides would be accessed through a web browser. Even though the lecture would be pre-recorded, the speaker would be available for a real-time question and answer session. Members would use a chat program to send typed questions to the speaker. The spirit of the seminar would be that of traditional university talks, but it would offer the following unique advantages:

     a. The opportunity to interact with our colleagues in real time,
            regardless of geographical location.

     b. The opportunity for senior faculty, graduate students and
            postdoctoral fellows to present their work to a worldwide
            community on a weekly basis.

     c. Several lectures could be available at any given time for download.

     d. Because the seminars would be pre-recorded, they would be
            available to members for review during a reasonable
            period of  time.

2. An electronic chat service for members.  Always available, intended for informal exchange of ideas, the chat service would also be used to discuss the virtual seminars.

Please note that Society services are not intended to replace conferences such as Eurohaptics or the Haptics Symposium. The electronic lectures are intended to be informal, non-peer-reviewed ways to let other researchers know about our work or interests.

These services are technically feasible. I believe that they could bring a great deal of exciting new research possibilities to our field. The opportunities for meeting new researchers and for establishing new collaborations would be extensive. Access to the Society resources would be restricted to members, but if the Society at large decides so, some or all lectures would be available to the public for download. In the event of public distribution, the copyright of the lectures would remain with the original authors.

If well a membership fee is a possibility to cover costs, I would propose at this time to share the cost in the following ways, which are, of course, open to discussion:

1. As part of his/her Society subscription, each member would make a firm commitment to periodically prepare and deliver an electronic lecture to the Society. The period in-between lectures by the same member would be open to discussion, a possibility is to give a lecture every six months.  Each lecture could be anywhere from fifteen to sixty-minute long. The content of the lectures could include, among many other possibilities:

             -The current research of members.
             -Surveys about the scope of the work in each member's laboratory.
             -A discussion of important papers from the current literature (not necessarily
              articles authored by the presenter).
             -Society members from the corporate world could present the technical
               features of their products.

2. Each member would supply space and bandwidth in a computer server to host the lectures for download by other members. The speaker would be responsible for recording his/her lecture, and for uploading it and the accompanying slides into a central server. Each member would be responsible for downloading the lecture file from this central server into their own servers before a broadcast. To make optimal use of storage and bandwidth resources, I would organize the access to the lectures and distribute the requests for downloads across all members' servers. I would also provide storage and bandwidth to download lecture slides, offer advice on how to prepare the lectures for electronic delivery, and host the website of the Society.

3. Each member would use free, or donated software for playing the lectures, and also for recording them.

Should the Society be started, Professor Vincent Hayward, Director of the Center for Intelligent Machines at McGill University, Canada, has kindly agreed to give the first Society lecture. Starting the Society would depend on the amount of interest shown by the haptics community.

If you would like to be a member of the Society, please write to

If possible, please add an URL with information about you. This URL would be included in the summary of the project's progress (see below). I would highly appreciate your feedback about this project, too. Please send me any comments/questions you may have. I will edit all the comments I get, and post a summary here to be shared with you for further discussion. If you don't want to be mentioned by name in the summary please indicate so when sending your comments.

Please feel free to forward this message to friends, colleagues or students that might be interested in participating.

I wish to thank Ms. Martha Elsa Teutli-Torres and Professor Vincent Hayward for their many valuable suggestions and comments about this plan.

Best regards,

Gabriel Robles-De-La-Torre

List of researchers interested in joining the society.

In alphabetical order:

1. Dr. Manuel Cruz, Immersion Corporation.

2.  Professor Elaine Chapman, University of Montreal, Department of Physiology.

3. Jose Dionisio, M.S.

4. Keith Franklin, PhD student, University of Kent at Canterbury, Department of Computer Science.

5. Professor Vincent Hayward, McGill University, Director, Center for Intelligent Machines and Haptics Laboratory.

6. Hannes Kaufmann, M.S., PhD student, Vienna University of Technology, Interactive Media Systems Group.

7. Dr. Jukka Linjama, Research and Technology Access group, Nokia Mobile Phones, Finland.

8. Professor Marcia K. O'Malley, Rice University, Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science Department.

9. Dr. Sile O'Modhrain, Media Lab Europe, Principal Research Scientist.

10. Professor Craig Morrison,  Southern Utah University, Department of Physical Education.

11. Marilyn Powers, Ph.D. candidate, Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, University of Calgary, Canada.

12. Professor Albert "Skip" Rizzo, University of Southern California, Director,  Laboratory for the Virtual Assessment and Rehabilitation of Cognition, Integrated Media Systems Center and School of Gerontology.

13.  Professor Jonathan C. Roberts, University of Kent at Canterbury, Department of Computer Science.

14. Alexander Shirinov, M.S., Oldenburg University, Department of Computer Science.

15. Professor Tony Szturm, University of Manitoba, School of Medical Rehabilitation.

16. Daniel Wang, PhD candidate, Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

17. Dingrong Yi, PhD candidate, McGill University, Center for Intelligent Machines.

18. Yinghui Zhang, PhD candidate, University of Hull, Department of Computer Science, United Kingdom.

Summary of comments submitted by the haptics community about the project.

Comments are sorted by the date in which they were submitted. I have added my own comments and marked them with "G.R.".

1. Dr. Sile O'Modhrain, Media Lab Europe, Principal Research Scientist, Media Lab Europe,
   www.medialabeurope.org/palpable. Dr. O'Modhrain wrote:

Yes, I would be interested and able to participate in a society such as that which you have outlined.

2. Dr. Manuel Cruz,  Immersion Corporation. Dr. Cruz wrote::

My concern is that soon enough we will be having lectures that  because of the lack or review might not be up to the standard of the general  community and therefore, the lectures will start loosing audience. I really think  there must be some sort of review process, even if it is juts one person  that reviews it, to ensure the material is technically sound and with the required level for the members to be interested. Nevertheless, I am interested in participating in this society if it  becomes a reality.

3. Dingrong Yi, PhD candidate, McGill University, http://www.cim.mcgill.ca/~yidingr/. She wrote:

Please add my name to the list of society.

4. Jose Dionisio, M.S. He wrote:

I would be pleased to be a member of the Society.

5. Professor Tony Szturm,  University of Manitoba, School of Medical Rehabilitation. Prof. Szturm wrote:

I fully support your proposal to establish a professional, international,  not-for-profit Society for  Haptics. Intended to promote and exchange knowledge about all aspects of the field, and the idea of  1. A virtual seminar series. 2. An electronic chat service for members. I am currently trying to obtain funding to support a project related to use of haptic devices and computer- based systems to promote recovery of upper extremity function post stroke.

6. Hannes Kaufmann, M.S., PhD student, Vienna University of Technology, Interactive Media Systems Group.
   http://www.studierstube.org/projects/construct3d. Mr. Kaufmann wrote:

I'd be interested in becoming member of your Society for Haptics.  I'm a PhD student working on an Augmented reality application for dynamic  3d modeling to be used in mathematics and geometry education for the enhancement of spatial abilities. In a current project funded by the European Union we plan to integrate a haptic device (Cybergrasp) and evaluate its use for educational purposes. At a later stage of the project (in 1-2 years) I can imagine giving a lecture to the community/society about our work. Providing the necessary  infrastructure (server for download) is no problem.

7. Professor Gunnar Jansson from Uppsala University, would like to be kept informed about the progress of the project. He wrote:

I appreciate your efforts to increase interaction between us.  However, I'm not yet convinced that oral lectures and chats are the best ways.  They take a lot of time and the value of chats is sometimes meagre per unit of  time. I think the heavy types of information are written papers and  meetings with people at conferences. Therefore, I'm not ready to give any promise  about the extent of participation. Anyhow, I would like to be informed of  the progress of your initiative.

G.R. I agree that papers and meetings offer many advantages. I believe that the virtual lectures would complement, rather than substitute them, in the following way. In haptics, becoming aware of new advances, and using them in our research, requires us to understand and keep up with the literature in very different fields: perception, physiology, devices, programming, mechanical engineering, etc. Of course, it is possible to do this without virtual lectures.  But through virtual lectures we can have regular, worldwide access to researchers in those areas, and get to know about their work directly from them. We could make specific questions about it. Or to establish a collaboration with them.

8. Professor Marcia K. O'Malley, Rice University, Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science wrote:

I am interested in becoming involved in the society.

9. Keith Franklin, PhD student, University of Kent at Canterbury,

I was forwarded information about this new society that you are trying to set up as a point of interest for my research towards my PhD.  I am currently looking in non-visual visualization and exploration of data
using both sound and haptics.  So both my supervisor Jonathan C Roberts and myself would like to join.

However at present due to only being in the first year of my PhD and my supervisor being new to this area as his main interest is simple visualization, both my supervisor and myself think that we would only have enough material to give a single presentation between us.  So I would like to know some more information when you decided about the time period.

10. Marilyn Powers, Ph.D. candidate, Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering
Biomedical focus, University of Calgary, Canada. Ms. Powers wrote:

I would like to join the society as described in your email. It is an excellent idea especially when people like me are the only ones in the field at their respective university.

11.  Professor Craig Morrison, Department of Physical Education, University of Southern Utah. Professor Morrison wrote:

Although I do no haptic research at present, I have an interest in the area through my area of research - qualitative analysis of human movement.  If I could participate in the society, I would appreciated it.

12.   Daniel Wang is currently a PhD candidate in robotics at the Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics. Mr Wang wrote:

I hope this society becomes stronger and stronger.All the  members will benefit from communication and discussion.

13. Professor Elaine Chapman, Department of Physiology, University of Montreal. Professor Chapman wrote:

Dear Gabriel,I would be happy to participate

14.  Yinghui Zhang, Department of Computer Science, The University of Hull, UK. Mr. Zhang wrote:

I'm currently a PhD candidate and intereted in becoming a member of your society. My academic interests include CAD, CG, and Haptic-based VE for manufacturing.

15. Alexander Shirinov. Department of Computer Science, Oldenburg University. Mr. Shirinov wrote:

I will be interested to be involved in the society. My research interests include Haptic interfaces in Microrobotics and Teleoperation.

16. Dr. Jukka Linjama works at the Research and Technology Access group of Nokia Mobile Phones in Finland. He is interested in user interfaces for mobile devices, including "low-fidelity" haptics with low energy and cost, and simple vibrotactile haptic metaphors and solutions.

He also contributed the following suggestions about the rating of lectures and the classification of lecture topics:

1. Review of material. My suggestion to increase the usability and review the lectures is: a voting procedure, direct feedback from peers. If it is simple, just click rating buttons, then people use it and it works.

2. Classification (categories). Also categorisation of information is important. Again: just click preselected  categories where the presentation belongs to. Also possibility to supply additional keywords.