Michaël Wiertlewski wins best journal paper

Every year, the journal Transaction on Haptics – one of the top journals in our field – awards the best journal paper. We are very proud that our colleague Michaël Wiertlewski won this prestigious award this year!

About the paper “Perception of Ultrasonic Switches Involves Large Discontinuity of the Mechanical Impedance”

Touchscreens have opened the door to a more intuitive interaction with computers. Yet, this new technology has dramatic effects on how we perceive the action of the machine. Where physical buttons gave a vivid tactile feedback on their state and action, touchscreens are a flat and inert pane of glass, which forces users to solely rely on visual cues to navigate around the interface. The required visual attention leads to distraction and hinder the formation of muscle memory.

Surface-haptics endow touchscreens with the ability of touching back the user via the online modification of the slipperiness of a glass touchscreen. The aforementioned study shows that this phenomenon of friction modulation can be harnessed to create virtual buttons that feel similar to their real counterparts. These buttons can provide a much needed validation that the action commanded by the user has been correctly executed, without the need for any visual feedback. The results have applications in human-computer interaction, especially in automotive industry visual distraction can be dangerous. 

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