The sense of touch considered as a multi-modal system

Vincent Hayward

Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris


During mechanical interaction with our environment, we have a perceptual experience that we can compare to that resulting from audition or vision, yet, touch relies on physics that are completely different from that of optics or acoustics. New mechanical stimulation delivery equipment capable of fine
segregation of distinct cues at different length scales and different time scales now allows us to study the many aspects of haptic perception and the computations that the nervous system must perform to achieve a perceptual outcome. From these studies, there is mounting evidence that many percepts, such as shape, texture or rigidity, can be elicited through multiple sensing modes that blur the boundaries traditionally erected between touch and kinesthesia.


Vincent Hayward (Dr.-Ing., 1981 Univ. de Paris XI) was Postoctoral Fellow then Visiting Assistant Professor (1982) at Purdue University, and joined CNRS, France, as Chargé de Recherches in 1983. In 1987, he joined the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at McGill University as assistant, associate and then full professor (2006). He was the Director of the McGill Center for Intelligent Machines from 2001 to 2004. He is now Professor at the Université Pierre et Marie Curie in Paris where he held the International Chair in Haptics from 2008 to 2011. Hayward is interested in haptic device design and applications, perception, and robotics and published in this areas. Hayward co-founded spin-off companies and received several best paper and research awards. He is on editorial board of the ACM Transaction on Applied Perception and of the IEEE Transactions on Haptics, and is a Fellow of the IEEE.