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Introduction to Haptics (Self-Paced)

Wednesday, October 1, 2014
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Participants in this class will learn how to build, program, and control haptic devices, which are mechatronic devices that allow users to feel virtual or remote environments. In the process, users will gain an appreciation for the capabilities and limitations of human touch, develop an intuitive connection between equations that describe physical interactions and how they feel, and gain practical interdisciplinary engineering skills related to robotics, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, bioengineering, and computer science. To participate fully, users will need to acquire/build the components of a Hapkit, and assemble and program the device. Laboratory assignments using Hapkit will give users hands-on experience in assembling mechanical systems, making circuits, programming Arduino-based micro-controllers, and testing their haptic creations. (You can still take the online course without the Hapkit, but you will not be able to do most of the laboratories.) After the class, we hope that you will continue to use and modify your Hapkit, and let us know about your haptic creations.


This is a self-paced course, so you can complete the videos, quizzes, and lab assignments on your own schedule. Grading is automated. However, we suggest spending about one week on each of the 5 modules in the course, with each module taking about 10 hours of your time (depending on your background/experience).


The required background for this course is high-school physics (non-calculus is fine) and pre-calculus. Beginning programming is experience is helpful. Haptic device design, robotics, and mechatronics experience are not required -- this is designed as a gateway course for these topics.


Allison Okamura (Instructor)

Allison is an associate professor in the Stanford University mechanical engineering department and (by courtesy) computer science department. She is the director of theCollaborative Haptics and Robotics in Medicine (CHARM) Laboratory. Allison creates robots and human-computer interfaces that use haptics (the sense of touch) in order to improve human health, safety, and quality of life. She and her students study applications of haptic technology in robot-assisted surgery, prosthetics, rehabilitation, simulation and training, space teleoperation, and education. Allison is committed to sharing her passion for research and discovery, using robotics and haptics in outreach programs to groups underrepresented in engineering. Outside academia, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two children, running, and playing ice hockey.

Melisa Orta (Teaching Assistant)

Melisa is a Ph.D. student in the mechanical engineering department at Stanford University. She received her bachelor’s degree from Monterrey Institute of Technology, her Master's degree at Stanford University, and worked for several years at Apple.

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