inFORCE Ken Nakagaki, Daniel Fitzgerald, Zhiyaho (John) Ma, Luke Vink, Daniel Levine, Clark Della Silva, Hiroshi Ishii

In this project, we explore a novel haptic interaction design space with 'force' controlled shape display. Utilizing high performance linear actuators with current reading functionality, we built a 10 x 5 'force' shape display, named inFORCE, that can both detect and exert variable force on individual pins. By integrating closed-loop force control, our system can provide real-time variable haptic feedback in response to the way users press the pins. Our haptic interaction design space includes volumetric haptic feedback, material emulation, layer snapping, and friction.
Our proposed interaction methods, for example, enables people to "press through'' computationally rendered dynamic shapes to understand the internal structure of 3D volumetric information. We also demonstrate a material property capturing functionality. Our technical evaluation and user study assesses the hardware capability and haptic perception through interaction with inFORCE. We also explore application spaces including bio-medical data and geo-science data representation.
While there are many hardware of pin-based shape display proposed in the past, inFORCE is the first pin-based shape display that enable variable `force' feedback with closed loop control.


Ken Nakagaki- Project Lead, Interaction Design and Applications
Daniel Fitzgerald - Concept, and Hardware / Software Development
Zhiyao (John) Ma - Control Algorithm Development
Luke Vink - Concept, Interaction Design, and Applications
Daniel Levine - Control Algorithm Support
Clark Della Silva - Initial Hardware Development
Hiroshi Ishii - Project Advisor
Technical Support:
Rebecca Li, Hanjun Li, Daniel Mendelsohn, Baian "Andrew" Chen, Luke Hyman, Yasmine Hassan, Sam Chin, Mary and the merry band of Oliners, and the Norwell Highschool Robotics Team.


ACM TEI2019, Best Paper Honorable Mention Award
*Please contact ken_n [at] for press inquiry.