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• Feel good, or feel different?
• leather or plastic?
• a silky-soft and aromatic leather?
• sturdy metal?
• a smooth wood surface?
• easy to grip the control knob?

When you touch a material, the tactile feeling which is communicated between the human hand and the human brain will guide the customers to categorize the materials. For example, the touch evaluation of a leather surface becomes obvious that customer’s tastes are different and also change over time. People have various objectives towards leather, artificial leather and textiles. Therefore, what features are needed for designing specific materials with certain surface haptical characteristics?

With certain physical and mechanical methods, those tactile haptical characteristics of the material and surface are measured including parameters such as static deformation, viscoelasticity, surface roughness, shock absorption and coefficient of friction.


The results arising from these standard physical tests are then compared with various ratings that the assigned test customers have evaluated based on their subjective evaluations.

For example, when we design the interior materials for a sport car compared with a luxury sedan, the customer acceptance of various plastic or leather surfaces has quite different perspective. The subjective rating have shown that customers, for example, would prefer soft types of leather for a luxury sedan than hard leather surfaces. While people would choose hard feeling leather for a sport car. Therefore, we can utilize the general patterns for further development work. On the other hand, those physical measurement data will also provide the researchers with some clear conclusions about the material characteristics.

A second focus of the haptics is to determine the interaction between product’s “feel” and its perceived function. For example, the material design of soft contact lenses, the issues such as: How comfortable the contact lenses in the eyes? Is it too much friction or easily got iritating feeling in the eyes? Should the coatings be hard or soft?
To answer these questions, it is firstly necessary to build a test panel of certain amount of samples that could be compared with one another by the customers. Then the subjective results lead to a ranking for how the contact lenses are felt. Further the researchers are now working out the parameters and test conditions for physical tactile measurements. In the process, they investigate issues such as the shape, size and material feel of the contact lenses. These test results enabled the haptics researchers to give clear feedback on the characteristics of the materials and coatings that the ideal contact lenses should have.

The haptics research, which involves designing and testing in several phases, permits human sensory qualities - those perceived by touch, sight, hearing and possibly even smell. Surely there is no good haptics or bad haptics, it is essentially depending on the tested object. For example, “a car has to look good”, or “a mobile phone has to feel good” , or “how the surfaces felt to the touch?”

So our job is to find out what feels good to the touch, and why it is good, and this is HAPTIC - a feelable factors for quality, function and taste!