InSPIRE Lab Vision Statement

The focus of the InSPIRE Lab is in Innovation Synthesis and Prototyping for Interdisciplinary Research and Engineering in haptics and other fields. Interdisciplinary research needs a team of people who have core expertise in different domains represented by the central spire of the logo of the lab. To be a successful interdisciplinary researcher the domain experts need to have a broader understanding of the other domains so that they can apply their core expertise efficiently and judiciously for the interdisciplinary research and engineering. This expansion of basic knowledge of different domains is represented by the expanding spire at the base of the central spire of the logo. As the time passes researchers of this lab supposed to be making dent in their core domain of expertise as well as broadening their understanding towards associated domains of their interdisciplinary works.

The two spires present on two sides of the lab name are revolving in opposite directions indicating that lab members may disagree on some ideas at some points but they come to a solution at certain point to fulfill the final objective of the interdisciplinary work. Two different colour of the spires indicate that lab members have different core expertise and at the same time the two different shades of each central spire indicate that contribution done by a member in the core domain could be viewed by different people from different angles. In any case, height and breadth both matters to be a successful interdisciplinary researcher or engineer.

The presence of two core spire also indicates that as time passes and knowledge base
expands, an interdisciplinary researcher and engineer sometime develops multiple core
domains or shifts the core domain of expertise. However, it is not desirable to attempt shifting or spawning a core expertise very frequently. That is why the central spires are maintaining sufficient distance by staying at two opposite sides of the InSPIRE Lab. Hope the InSPIRE Lab will be inspiring all its lab members and others through out its existences.


Haptics ↔ Distributed Transduction ↔ Bio-Medical

Haptics is an interdisciplinary field of study related to touch sensation. Among the five major sensation (touch, taste, smell, hearing and sight) touch is the most robust and fundamental creating the basis of the reality. Therefore, creating different type of high fidelity artificial touch stimuli is still a topic of research and extremely challenging. However, modern technological advancement related to sensors, actuators, electronics, smart-materials and computers have created an opportunity for us to explore the fundamentals and applications of haptics deeper and broader.

Over the past few decades, due to technological advancement, the artificial sensors and
transducers achieved increased sensitivity and SNR along with decreased power
consumption and size. This inherently led to the development of low power and miniaturized actuator systems which can function in association with those advanced sensors and transducers. This reduction of actuator size and power consumption is well supported by increase in efficiency of the actuator and electronic driver systems for them. This advancement was sufficient to bring the audio-visual technologies to next level over past two decades. However, Haptic technologies could not advanced much mostly because of the limitations imposed by the fundamental physics behind haptics, such as:
1. Human haptic system is a distributed sensory system that needs physical / direct
contact with the stimulator and hence overall contact area reduction of stimulator is not
a desirable feature. On the other hand, audio-visual stimulators can reduce the
distance between localized human sensors (eye and ear) to take advantage of the
smaller and lower power actuators.
2. Providing high fidelity quasi-static and low frequency haptic feedback inherently claims
ground reaction force and wearable technologies are counter intuitive to this
requirement. All wearable haptic systems work based on the higher frequency vibration
(vibrotactile stimulus) which fails to offer high fidelity quasi-static and low frequency
haptic feedback.
3. Active sensing is more deeply rooted in haptic system than biological auditory or
visual systems. This inherently makes development of haptic technologies much more
complicated than audio-visual technologies. This bi-direction interaction nature of
haptic system claims higher power rating of the stimulator as biological sensory-motor
systems have not altered its specification over centuries.
4. Human haptic system uses highly distributed energy source along with distributed
actuators and sensors. Developing such distributed and integrated energy source for
the artificial actuator system is still a challenge.

Therefore InSPIRE Lab will focus mostly on fundamental research on haptics which could
lead to technological development towards high-fidelity haptic stimulus generation. This
certainly involves research in the domain of human haptics and distributed energy systems. Research in distributed energy system has obvious allied applications in the present day world moving towards the non-conventional energy harvesting. At present haptics has a promising application in bio-medical field. Its application is emerging in the field of virtual reality (VR), industrial training and manufacturing, education technologies and IoT (tactileinternet) to name a few. Hence, InSPIRE Lab will be open for contributing in those fields. Besides applied research the core research activity will cover the field of electronics and instrumentation engineering, physiology and psychology at macro and micro level. One significant activity of the lab will be the experimentation and modeling of biological haptic systems.

The following are the three applied research project that the InSPIRE Lab will focus for next
five years.
1. Development of haptic devices for recording and reproduction of human finger touch
and manipulation.
2. Development of haptic devices for virtual training of technician / labour working at high
risk environments, such as electrician at high voltage environment, construction labour
at high elevation etc.
3. Development of haptics based clinically relevant affordable wearable noninvasive
physiological signal monitors