The Haptic Creature

Social Human-Robot Interaction through Affective Touch

Conducted from 2004-2012, my doctoral research explored the communication of emotion through touch in the social interaction between humans and robots. My thesis topic was “The Haptic Creature: Social Human-Robot Interaction through Affective Touch”.

I conducted my research in the Department of Computer Science at the University of British Columbia (Vancouver, Canada) under the supervision of Dr. Karon MacLean within her SPIN Research Group.

I am the inventor and chief architect of the Haptic Creature: a small, animal-like social robot designed to sense and communicate with humans solely through touch. I was responsible for all aspects of the robot’s design and development, including its look and feel, behavior, software (Java and PIC C), and mechatronics. Furthermore, I conceived of the research topic; formulated the research approach; designed and conducted several extensive user studies with the Haptic Creature robot; and supervised more than a dozen students during my tenure.

These pages document my research, with particular attention to the Haptic Creature robot.

The following is a short video demonstrating two different examples of interactions styles from the Haptic Creature in response to the human’s emotional state.

The Haptic Creature — Two Examples of Interaction Styles. © 2013