The main research goal is to exploit multiscale multiphysics simulation software, supported by neurophysiological measurements, for the virtual prototyping and optimisation of tactile displays.
The next generation of electronic user interfaces such as touch pads will have high definition haptic feedback since tactile displays enhance user performance, ease of use and user experience e.g. by the tactile illusion that onscreen buttons press and release for nonphysical keyboards. The main research goal is to exploit multiscale multiphysics simulation software, supported by neurophysiological measurements, for the virtual prototyping and optimisation of tactile displays, which with the associated research activities, will lead to a radical understanding of the underlying design principles and hence to the development of future generation devices. This will be achieved by the deployment of an inter-disciplinary network involving experts in tactile displays, computer simulation, cognitive and neural science, psychophysics, information processing, materials science, tribology and medical rehabilitation.
The research is biomimetic in nature, being based on an understanding of the cellular, neurological and psychophysical response to tactile experiences such as those associated with tactile displays. The inter-sectoral dimension of the consortium links fundamental and applied scientists and engineers in 7 universities, 3 multi-national companies and 4 SMEs. The research will catalyse greater commercial activity by European companies in the development of tactile displays.
This will be facilitated by a key training target of PROTOTOUCH to develop a cohort of next generation researchers that has the appropriate expertise in tactile displays and the ability to communicate across disciplinary boundaries and value the synergistic benefits of solving problems across the engineering-life science interface. It will create an ambitious environment for supra-disciplinary cross-sectoral research training that combines the needs for the creative skills of academic and industrial researchers, the entrepreneurial drive of the private sector, and clinical innovation