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Artificial Softness: perception and design

Open workshop

This workshop will take place on Sunday morning (February 23, 2014). Softness is the subjective measure of the compressibility of an object. When an object is indented, various types of information are produced which carry information about the material properties and object composition. Whereas geometric properties of shape are best obtained from vision even without being in contact with the object, sensory information about material properties are prevalently obtained with active object indentation. Moreover, during interaction, softness can be sensed redundantly using several sense modalities. This workshop focuses on the perceptual and technological aspects of softness rendering via virtual environments and haptic interfaces. More specifically, the technological solutions adopted in augmented/virtual reality as well as hardware and control implementations for haptic devices will be discussed, with particular attention to ways to overcome perceptual limitation by making use of the integration of multiple source of information.


The workshop is open to any student, researcher as well as developer and end user interested in designing/using tactile displays, algorithms and applications for virtual/augmented reality, with the specific aim of conveying softness cues.

Multidisciplinary aspects will be covered, ranging from psychophysics and psychology to computer science, mechatronics and robotics.

The goal is to encourage discussion between psychophysics experts and technology developers, to elaborate suitable tools and guidelines for the construction of more efficient artificial systems and to endow perceptual research of more advanced instruments for the investigation of human behavior.


  • Dr. Matteo Bianchi - Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia/Università di Pisa:
    ''A fabric–based approach for softness displays''
  • Fuminobu Kimura and Prof. Akio Yamamoto- University of Tokyo:
    ''Rendering a Variety of Softness Sensations by Wrapping a Flexible Sheet around a Fingertip''
  • Prof. Miguel A. Otaduy and Dr.  Alvaro Perez Molero - Universidad Rey Juan Carlos (URJC Madrid):
    ''Simulation of nonlinear skin using constraints''
  •  Prof. Seugmoon Choi -  Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH):
     Modeling and Rendering of Stiffness for Haptic Augmented Reality''

  • Dr. Netta Gurari - Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia:
    '' Compliance Perception using Natural and Artificial Motion Cues''
  • Prof. Amir Karniel – Ben Gurion University -- and Ilana Nisky - Stanford University:
    ''Perception of stiffness with delay''


Dr. Matteo Bianchi (Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia and University of Pisa)

Matteo Bianchi received the B.S degree cum laude and the M.S cum laude in biomedical engineering from the University of Pisa, Italy, in 2004 and 2007, respectively and the PhD in automatics, robotics and bioengineering from the University of Pisa in 2012. Currently, he is working as a Post-Doctoral researcher at the Advanced Robotics Department (ADVR) of the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT) and as a collaborator of the Research Center “E. Piaggio” of the University of Pisa.  From January to June 2011, he worked as visiting student at the Laboratory for Computational Sensing and Robotics at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD. He is an author of contributions to international conferences and journals. In 2010 he was finalist for the Best Student Paper and Best Paper Award at the IEEE Haptics Symposium in Boston (US- MA) and in 2012 he was awarded with the JCTF novel technology paper award at the IEEE/RSJ IROS Conference in Villamoura, Portugal. His research interests include haptic interfaces, medical robotics, tactile interaction modeling, psychophysics of the sense of touch and human manipulation, optimal hand pose sensing and tracking.

Dr. Massimiliano Di Luca (University of Birmingham)

Massimiliano Di Luca received the laurea cum laude in psychology from the University of Trieste in 2001 and the PhD in cognitive sciences from Brown University in 2006. He worked as a research scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics and since 2011 he became a Lecturer in Computational Neuroscience at the University of Birmingham. His main research interests include multimodal perception, haptics, and computational modeling


The participation to the workshop i sopen to submissions:

  • Type of submission (abstract)
  • Type of foreseen presentation ( poster)
  • Timeline for internal revision and acceptance of abstracts
  • Abstract  submission deadline:         TBD
  • Notification of acceptance:         TBD


For further info: please contact HS2014 WS and Tutorial chair Antonio Frisoli a [dot] frisoli [at] sssup [dot] it or WS organizers.