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StanfordOnline: Introduction to Haptics

Participants in this course will learn how to build, program, and control haptic devices, which are mechatronic devices that allow users to feel virtual or remote environments.

At this time, the Hapkit is not available for purchase as a complete kit. Instead, you will need to purchase and make the components as described on the Hapkit website at (If you are an enterprising person, we welcome you to take the open-source design and make into a product!)

In the process, participants will gain an appreciation for the capabilities and limitations of human touch, develop an intuitive connection between equations that describe physical interactions and how they feel, and gain practical interdisciplinary engineering skills related to robotics, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, bioengineering, and computer science.

Introduction to Haptics
5 weeks
1–10 hours per week
Progress at your own speed
Optional upgrade available

There is one session available:

6,088 already enrolled! After a course session ends, it will be archivedOpens in a new tab.
Starts Dec 8
Ends Dec 31

About this course

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To participate in lab assignments (which is not strictly required to receive a Statement of Accomplishment), the participant will need to acquire/build the components of a Hapkit, and assemble and program the device. Laboratory assignments using Hapkit will give participants hands-on experience in assembling mechanical systems, making circuits, programming Arduino-based micro-controllers, and testing their haptic creations. After the class, we hope that you will continue to use and modify your Hapkit, and let us know about your haptic creations. Please note that you can still participate in the online course without the Hapkit and receive a Statement of Accomplishment, but you will not be able to do most of the laboratories.

At a glance

  • Language: English
  • Video Transcript: English
  • Associated skills: Mechanical Systems, Biological Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering

What you'll learn

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The course is divided into 5 modules, and we suggest that you complete one module per week. In each module, participants will view online lectures, take online quizzes (interspersed with the lectures), and complete a laboratory assignment. Data for each lab assignment will be submitted online.

Module 1: Introduction to haptic technology and human haptics

Module 2: Hapkit mechanical design and assembly

Module 3: Hapkit mechatronics

Module 4: Programming virtual environments

Module 5: Mechanical characterization and simulation

Frequently Asked Questions

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What kind of computer do I need?

You need a computer both to access videos/quizzes/assignments on this site and to control your haptic device. Just about any computer with a USB port should suffice. We can provide support for setting up the Arduino software on a Mac or Windows-based PC, but if you want to use Linux you are on your own.

What other materials will I need?

If you are only planning to view the videos and take the quizzes, you will only need an internet-connected computer with web browser software. Acquiring the parts for and building a Hapkit (needed to complete the laboratory component of the course) is much more involved; instructions for building the Hapkit are posted on the Hapkit website:

Where can I get a Hapkit?

At this time, the Hapkit is not available for purchase as a complete kit. Instead, you will need to purchase and make the components as described on the Hapkit website at (If you are an enterprising person, we welcome you to take the open-source design and make into a product!)

Do I need to buy a textbook?

There is no textbook; we will provide or give you links to any documents that you need to read.

How will I be graded?

The pass/fail grade will be based on your quiz responses and submitted laboratory data. 50% of the grade is based on the quizzes and 50% is based on the laboratory assignments. To receive a "Statement of Accomplishment" for this course (i.e., a passing grade), you must receive a score of at least 50%. This means that you will probably need to do at least some parts of the laboratory component in order to "complete" this haptics course. (The first lab does not use the Hapkit, so it is possible to pass the course without building a Hapkit. This meant to make the course more accessible to people without the necessary resources to make a Hapkit.) Of course, you are welcome to do only the components of the course you are interested in, if the grade doesn't matter to you.

After I complete the course, how can I continue my haptics education?

Some links for Haptics education and research websites are provided on the Hapkit Resources webpage. In addition, we encourage other participants to post Haptics education and project materials on the course wiki page (click on "Wiki" once you are in the course).

Who can take this course?

Unfortunately, learners residing in one or more of the following countries or regions will not be able to register for this course: Iran, Cuba and the Crimea region of Ukraine. While edX has sought licenses from the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to offer our courses to learners in these countries and regions, the licenses we have received are not broad enough to allow us to offer this course in all locations. edX truly regrets that U.S. sanctions prevent us from offering all of our courses to everyone, no matter where they live.

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