Project Dates: 2012 – 2017

Learning Physics Through Haptics


HapkitHapkit is an open-hardware haptic device designed to be very low-cost and easy to assemble. Hapkit allows users to input motions and feel programmed forces in one degree of freedom. This enables interactive simulation of virtual environments that represent realistic physics (such as springs and dampers) and creative new touch sensations (like textures and buttons). The Hapkit can be assembled using household tools, costs less than $50 for all components, including the microcontroller board, and is easily set up and programmed by novices.

In 2012, Paulo Blikstein began to collaborate with the Hapkit team based in Allison Okamura’s Collaborative Haptics and Robotics in Medicine (CHARM) Lab to explore new educational applications of haptics. The partnership between TLTL and CHARM saw additional design revisions to the Hapkit to allow non-haptics experts to assemble and use the device with no supervision. The collaboration also led to the implementation of the kits in large educational projects, such as outreach programs and a massive open online course (MOOC) including studies on how integrating hands-on activities in a MOOC setting impacts students’ experiences.


Davis, R.*, Martinez, O.*, Schneider, O.*, MacLean, K., Okamura, A., & Blikstein, P. (2017). The haptic bridge: Towards a theory of haptic-supported learning. In Proceedings of the 16th International Conference on Interaction Design and Children (pp. 51-60). Stanford, CA, USA: ACM. https://doi.org/10.1145/3078072.3079755

Martinez, M.*, Morimoto, T.*, Taylor, A.*, Barron, A.*, Pultorak, J.*, Wang, J.*, Calasanz-Kaiser, A.*, Davis, R.*, Blikstein, P., Okamura, A. (2016). 3-D printed haptic devices for educational applications. In World Haptics Conference (WHC), 2016 IEEE Haptics Symposium (HAPTICS) (pp. 126-133). https://doi.org/10.1109/HAPTICS.2016.7463166

Morimoto, T.K.*, Blikstein, P., & Okamura, A.M. (2014). Hapkit: An open-hardware haptic device for online education. 2014 IEEE Haptics Symposium (HAPTICS), 1-1. Houston, TX.


Melissa Orta Martinez (Stanford University)
Allison M. Okamura (Stanford University)
Tania K. Morimoto (Stanford University)
Paulo Blikstein
Richard Lee Davis



NSF Cyberlearning EXP award: Hands-on Haptics Laboratories for Classroom and Online Learning



For more information, please contact Paulo Blikstein (research@tltlab.org).