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.

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.

Selected Projects:

Modeling and Applying Visuo-Haptic Illusions and Multimodal Haptics

MPC for Reach Redirection

Real-time VR spatial remapping using human sensorimotor models

Beyond Being Real

A Sensorimotor Control Perspective on Interactions in Virtual Reality


Extending the Limits of Haptic Mobile Robots with Redirection in VR

Understanding Redirected Touch In Virtual Reality

Augmenting haptic interaction in VR through perceptual illusions.

3D Retargeted Touch in Haptics VR

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

Visuo-Haptic Illusions

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

Hover Haptics

Using Quadcopters to Appropriate Objects and the Environment for Haptics in Virtual Reality

Realism in Phenomenal Causality

The role of realism across multisensory cues within causal perception

A Causal Feeling

How Kinesthetic Haptics Affects Causal Perception

Transient Vibration + Visuo Haptic Illusions

Augmenting Perceived Softness of Haptic Proxy Objects

Dissipative Haptic Devices

Electrostatic Adhesive Brakes

Towards High Spatial Resolution Refreshable 2.5D Tactile Shape Displays


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

Accessible STEM Education Through Haptic and Multimodal Interaction


An Accessible 3D Modelling Workflow for the Blind and Visually-Impaired Via 2.5D Shape Displays

Slide-tone and Tilt-tone

1-DOF Haptic Techniques for Conveying Shape Characteristics of Graphs to Blind Users


A Haptic and Audio Guidance System To Support Tactile Graphics Exploration

Editing Spatial Layouts through Tactile Templates

Editing Spatial Layouts through Tactile Templates for People with Visual Impairments

Interaction and Display with Swarm User Interfaces

Swarm Control

User-defined Swarm Robot Control


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


Building block for swarm user interface


Haptic Display with Swarm Robots

Dynamic Composite Data Physicalization

Physical visualizations that use collections of self-propelled objects to represent data


Miniature on-body robots as mobile wearables

Shape Changing Robots and Displays

An untethered isoperimetric soft robot

Shape changing truss robots that crawl and engulf.

Pneumatic Reel Actuator

High extension pneumatic actuator.


A Mobile Tabletop Shape Display for Tangible and Haptic Interaction

Design Tools


Automated Instrumentation for In-Circuit PCB Debugging with Dynamic Component Isolation


Interactive Design and Debugging of Analog Circuits with Programmable Hardware

Automated Accessory Rigs

for Layered 2D Character Illustrations