HandsOn: Enabling Embodied, Creative STEM e-learning with Programming-Free Force Feedback

  • Gordon Minaker
  • Oliver Schneider
  • Richard Davis
  • Karon E. MacLean
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 9775)


Embodied, physical interaction can improve learning by making abstractions concrete, while online courses and interactive lesson plans have increased education access and versatility. Haptic technology could integrate these benefits, but requires both low-cost hardware (recently enabled by low-cost DIY devices) and accessible software that enables students to creatively explore haptic environments without writing code. To investigate haptic e-learning without user programming, we developed HandsOn, a conceptual model for exploratory, embodied STEM education software; and implemented it with the SpringSim interface and a task battery for high school students. In two studies, we confirm that low-cost devices can render haptics adequately for this purpose, find qualitative impact of SpringSim on student strategies and curiosity, and identify directions for tool improvement and extension.


Virtual Environment Force Feedback Haptic Feedback Stem Education Spring Generator 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We thank Melisa Orta Martinez and Allison Okamura for the HapKit, Paul Bucci for illustration assistance, and Brenna Li for study facilitation. This work was supported by NSF, and conducted under UBC BREB #H14-01763.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gordon Minaker
    • 1
  • Oliver Schneider
    • 1
  • Richard Davis
    • 2
  • Karon E. MacLean
    • 1
  1. 1.University of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  2. 2.Stanford UniversityStanfordUSA

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