News from the Field Asia Haptics, 2014

Hong Z. Tan, J. Edward Colgate
2015 IEEE Transactions on Haptics  
A SIA Haptics 2014 was the first haptics conference featuring only hands-on demos with no podium presentations during the main conference. During the one and a half day main conference on November 19 and 20, 2014, a total of 58 peerreviewed and 10 late-breaking demos were showcased to some 210 conference attendees from all over the world. Due to the obvious requirement of having to move equipment to the conference venue, a majority of the demos came from Japan. In addition, there were a number
more » ... f demos from the neighboring country of Korea and from outside of Asia. The atmosphere was paced and relaxed for the demo presenters as well as the attendees, allowing ample opportunities for hands-on and (in some cases) feet-on interactions and technical discussions. The idea of an all demo haptics conference came about when Prof. Hiroo Iwata, general chair of Asia Haptics 2014, first considered hosting a haptics conference in Asia. He wanted to create a different and unique experience for the conference goers. Since hands-on demos have always been essential for understanding haptics work, it seemed worthwhile exploring the option of having demonstrations as the main event of a conference as opposed to oral presentations. The conference venue consisted of two large halls, each comfortably holding 30þ demo stations. In the main hall, a large screen and chairs were set up. Each demo was introduced by its presenter at the demo station and broadcast live on the large screen (see Fig. 1 below) . The conference attendees sat in front of the screen or followed the camera man around as oral presentations progressed. This arrangement gave the audience a nice "preview" of the demonstration in situ. The 68 demos were organized into three half-day sessions. Each session started with a 90-min period of introductions by the demo presenters, followed by a 2-hour demonstration period. The demos covered a wide range of technologies and applications. There were thermal, force-feedback, electrocutaneous, ultrasonic, and vibrotactile haptic displays. Among the honorable mention winners, there was a pulsation simulator with a concurrent temperature display that greatly enhanced the realism at the contact point. There were two ultrasonic displays that allowed the attendees to reach out and touch an object in thin air. Another allowed museum goers to touch objects behind protective glass casings. There were also a haptic ice hockey table with an electrostatic friction display and built-in capacitive position sensing, a haptic augmented reality system with modulated stiffness and friction, and a surprisingly compelling multi-digit softness display using flexible sheets wrapped around multiple fingers. The best demo award, which also received the people's choice award, went to the "Highly Flexible and Transparent Skin-like Tactile Sensor" from ETRI (see Fig. 2 ). As shown in Fig. 2 , the sensor sheet responded only when it is pressed but not when it is only bent. This demo, as well as those that received honorable mention, are described below. Overall, the demo-focused format worked well at Asia Haptics 2014. The conference attendees appreciated the amount of time available per demo as compared to other haptics conferences. The live-demo introduction was effective and helped to cut down the repeated instructions often required of demo presenters. However, the 2-hour long demo sessions could be physically draining for both the demo presenters and the attendees. There were also fewer opportunities to discuss research at the conference. It was therefore suggested that plenary talks or even plenary demos be incorporated into the future conference schedule to break up the long days and to provide focused discussion of emerging research topics. At the end of the conference, it was decided that future Asia Haptics conferences will be held in even years during the latter part of the year to complement Haptics Symposium and EuroHaptics, using the same format of featuring hands-on demos. The next Asia Haptics conference will be held on November 29 to December 1, 2016 in Kashiwanoha, Japan, a beautiful town outside the city of Tokyo.
doi:10.1109/toh.2015.2403011 fatcat:vydtsybtkff4vj673zkw2g6aoa