Reference Work Entry

Springer Handbook of Robotics

pp 719-739


  • Blake HannafordAffiliated withDepartment of Electrical Engineering, University of Washington Email author 
  • , Allison M. OkamuraAffiliated withDepartment of Mechanical Engineering, The Johns Hopkins University Email author 


The word haptics, believed to be derived from the Greek word haptesthai, means related to the sense of touch. In the psychology and neuroscience literature, haptics is the study of human touch sensing, specifically via kinesthetic (force/position) and cutaneous (tactile) receptors, associated with perception and manipulation. In the robotics and virtual reality literature, haptics is broadly defined as real and simulated touch interactions between robots, humans, and real, remote, or simulated environments, in various combinations. This chapter focuses on the use of specialized robotic devices and their corresponding control, known as haptic interfaces, that allow human operators to experience the sense of touch in remote (teleoperated) or simulated (virtual) environments.