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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Organic Materials for Haptic Feedback

  • Author(s): Carpenter, Cody
  • Advisor(s): Lipomi, Darren J.
  • et al.
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The skin is the largest organ in the human body. As material scientists, we are hesitant to touch samples out of fear of damaging or contaminating them. This behavior, rational as it is, has prevented us from asking fundamental questions pertaining to our sense of touch that can only be answered using the tools of materials science. This dissertation introduces the methodology of materials science to the toolkit of psychology in order to explore the interface between the human sense of touch and the material world. Here I will introduce multiple demonstrations that are a part of a larger effort within the Lipomi Research Group to use the tools of organic materials chemistry in haptics research—“organic haptics.” The word “haptics” refers to technologies designed to stimulate the tactile and kinesthetic senses. Haptics could enable enhanced forms of physical therapy, realistic virtual environments for education and training, and new art forms that use touch to produce thoughtfulness, imagery, and emotion. Examples include the use of self-assembled monolayers to unveil new limits of tactile perception (i.e. humans can tell the difference between two materials that differ only in their top most layer of molecules), the glass transition temperature of a polymer to interface with the kinesthetic sense, and stretchable conductors for multimodal haptic feedback.

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This item is under embargo until September 9, 2020.