The Stanford SHAPE Lab, directed by Prof. Sean Follmer, explores how we can interact with digital information in a more physical and tangible way. Towards our goal of more human centered computing, we believe that interaction must be grounded in the physical world and leverage our innate abilities for spatial cognition and dexterous manipulation with our hands.

Visuo-Haptic Illusions

Visuo-Haptic Illusions for Improving the Perceived Performance of Shape Displays

3D Retargeted Touch in Haptics VR

A Functional Optimization Based Approach for Continuous 3D Retargeted Touch of Arbitrary, Complex Boundaries in Haptic Virtual Reality


A Mobile Tabletop Shape Display for Tangible and Haptic Interaction

Electrostatic Adhesive Brakes

Towards High Spatial Resolution Refreshable 2.5D Tactile Shape Displays

Robotic Assembly

Robotic Assembly of Haptic Proxy Objects for Tangible Interaction and Virtual Reality


A Wearable Haptic Interface for Simulating Weight and Grasping in Virtual Reality


Interactive Design and Debugging of Analog Circuits with Programmable Hardware


Ubiquitous Robotic Interfaces and Investigation of Abstract motion as a Display.

Pneumatic Reel Actuator

High extension pneumatic actuator.


Reconfigurable Tactile Elements for dynamic physical controls.


Building block for swarm user interface


A wearable haptic interface for grasping in virtual reality.


Miniature on-body robots as mobile wearables

Switchable Permanent Magnetic Actuators

Applications in shape change and tactile display

Haptic Edge Display

Display for mobile tactile interaction.

We develop advanced technologies in robotics, mechatronics, and sensing to create interactive, dynamic physical 3D displays and haptic interfaces that allow 3D information to be touched as well as seen. We are specifically interested in using these novel interfaces to support richer remote collaboration, computer aided design, education, and interfaces for people with visual impairments. In pursuit of these goals, we use a design process grounded in iterative prototyping and human centered design and look to create new understanding about human perception and interaction through controlled studies.
The SHAPE lab is housed in the Stanford Mechanical Engineering Department’s Design Group and affiliated with the Stanford Design Impact Program and the Stanford Human Computer Interaction Group.