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Developing touch-based robotics for the arts industry

Robot fingers pointing to laptop

An OU researcher is leading a project to design new haptic (touch-based robotics) for the UK arts industry.

Dr Lisa Bowers, Staff Tutor in the OU’s Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, has received £106,000 from Innovate UK for the HAPPIE Audience of the Future - Creative touch, Design prototyping project, which will benefit both blind/visually impaired and sighted visitors and OU design students.

Over the 18-month project, Dr Bowers is working with internal OU collaborators and four external partners. The funding grant was based on a need to increase haptic (touch-based robotics) into varied new scenarios for ‘the arts industry UK’ and deliver new sensory interactions for use by artisanal communities. Amongst other external project partners HAPPIE will work with the V&A, London to recreate virtual replica historical artefacts for blind/visually impaired and sighted museum visitors.

The project will also develop a sketch and drafting haptic tool for blind/visual impaired and sighted OU design/engineering students.

Dr Lisa Bowers said: “The HAPPIE prototype project has been explicitly designed to add impactful teaching and learning resources that benefits disabled users across creative and applied disciplines within The Open University, where previously there have been no such sensory led tooling”.

Find out more about OU research into Computing & Communications

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