Autumn Semester 2020 takes place in a mixed form of online and classroom teaching.
Please read the published information on the individual courses carefully.

376-1504-00L  Physical Human Robot Interaction (pHRI)

SemesterAutumn Semester 2016
LecturersR. Gassert, O. Lambercy
Periodicityyearly recurring course
Language of instructionEnglish
CommentNumber of participants limited to 26.

Catalogue data

AbstractThis course focuses on the emerging, interdisciplinary field of physical human-robot interaction, bringing together themes from robotics, real-time control, human factors, haptics, virtual environments, interaction design and other fields to enable the development of human-oriented robotic systems.
ObjectiveThe objective of this course is to give an introduction to the fundamentals of physical human robot interaction, through lectures on the underlying theoretical/mechatronics aspects and application fields, in combination with a hands-on lab tutorial. The course will guide students through the design and evaluation process of such systems.

By the end of this course, you should understand the critical elements in human-robot interactions - both in terms of engineering and human factors - and use these to evaluate and de- sign safe and efficient assistive and rehabilitative robotic systems. Specifically, you should be able to:

1) identify critical human factors in physical human-robot interaction and use these to derive design requirements;
2) compare and select mechatronic components that optimally fulfill the defined design requirements;
3) derive a model of the device dynamics to guide and optimize the selection and integration of selected components
into a functional system;
4) design control hardware and software and implement and
test human-interactive control strategies on the physical
5) characterize and optimize such systems using both engineering and psychophysical evaluation metrics;
6) investigate and optimize one aspect of the physical setup and convey and defend the gained insights in a technical presentation.
ContentThis course provides an introduction to fundamental aspects of physical human-robot interaction. After an overview of human haptic, visual and auditory sensing, neurophysiology and psychophysics, principles of human-robot interaction systems (kinematics, mechanical transmissions, robot sensors and actuators used in these systems) will be introduced. Throughout the course, students will gain knowledge of interaction control strategies including impedance/admittance and force control, haptic rendering basics and issues in device design for humans such as transparency and stability analysis, safety hardware and procedures. The course is organized into lectures that aim to bring students up to speed with the basics of these systems, readings on classical and current topics in physical human-robot interaction, laboratory sessions and lab visits.
Students will attend periodic laboratory sessions where they will implement the theoretical aspects learned during the lectures. Here the salient features of haptic device design will be identified and theoretical aspects will be implemented in a haptic system based on the haptic paddle (Link), by creating simple dynamic haptic virtual environments and understanding the performance limitations and causes of instabilities (direct/virtual coupling, friction, damping, time delays, sampling rate, sensor quantization, etc.) during rendering of different mechanical properties.
Lecture notesWill be distributed through the document repository before the lectures.
LiteratureAbbott, J. and Okamura, A. (2005). Effects of position quantization and sampling rate on virtual-wall passivity. Robotics, IEEE Transactions on, 21(5):952 - 964.
Adams, R. and Hannaford, B. (1999). Stable haptic interaction with virtual environments. Robotics and Automation, IEEE Transactions on, 15(3):465 -474.
Buerger, S. and Hogan, N. (2007). Complementary stability and loop shaping for improved human ndash;robot interaction. Robotics, IEEE Transactions on, 23(2):232 -244.
Burdea, G. and Brooks, F. (1996). Force and touch feedback for virtual reality. John Wiley & Sons New York NY.
Colgate, J. and Brown, J. (1994). Factors affecting the z-width of a haptic display. In Robotics and Automation, 1994. Proceedings., 1994 IEEE International Conference on, pages 3205 -3210 vol.4.
Diolaiti, N., Niemeyer, G., Barbagli, F., and Salisbury, J. (2006). Stability of haptic rendering: Discretization, quantization, time delay, and coulomb effects. Robotics, IEEE Transactions on, 22(2):256 -268.
Gillespie, R. and Cutkosky, M. (1996). Stable user-specific haptic rendering of the virtual wall. In Proceedings of the ASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exhibition, volume 58, pages 397-406.
Hannaford, B. and Ryu, J.-H. (2002). Time-domain passivity control of haptic interfaces. Robotics and Automation, IEEE Transactions on, 18(1):1 -10.
Hashtrudi-Zaad, K. and Salcudean, S. (2001). Analysis of control architectures for teleoperation systems with impedance/admittance master and slave manipulators. The International Journal of Robotics Research, 20(6):419.
Hayward, V. and Astley, O. (1996). Performance measures for haptic interfaces. In ROBOTICS RESEARCH-INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM-, volume 7, pages 195-206. Citeseer.
Hayward, V. and Maclean, K. (2007). Do it yourself haptics: part i. Robotics Automation Magazine, IEEE, 14(4):88 -104.
Leskovsky, P., Harders, M., and Szeekely, G. (2006). Assessing the fidelity of haptically rendered deformable objects. In Haptic Interfaces for Virtual Environment and Teleoperator Systems, 2006 14th Symposium on, pages 19 - 25.
MacLean, K. and Hayward, V. (2008). Do it yourself haptics: Part ii [tutorial]. Robotics Automation Magazine, IEEE, 15(1):104 -119.
Mahvash, M. and Hayward, V. (2003). Passivity-based high-fidelity haptic rendering of contact. In Robotics and Automation, 2003. Proceedings. ICRA '03. IEEE International Conference on, volume 3, pages 3722 - 3728 vol.3.
Mehling, J., Colgate, J., and Peshkin, M. (2005). Increasing the impedance range of a haptic display by adding electrical damping. In Eurohaptics Conference, 2005 and Symposium on Haptic Interfaces for Virtual Environment and Teleoperator Systems, 2005. World Haptics 2005. First Joint, pages 257 - 262.
Okamura, A., Richard, C., and Cutkosky, M. (2002). Feeling is believing: Using a force-feedback joystick to teach dynamic systems. JOURNAL OF ENGINEERING EDUCATION-WASHINGTON-, 91(3):345-350.
O'Malley, M. and Goldfarb, M. (2004). The effect of virtual surface stiffness on the haptic perception of detail. Mechatronics, IEEE/ASME Transactions on, 9(2):448 -454.
Richard, C. and Cutkosky, M. (2000). The effects of real and computer generated friction on human performance in a targeting task. In Proceedings of the ASME Dynamic Systems and Control Division, volume 69, page 2.
Salisbury, K., Conti, F., and Barbagli, F. (2004). Haptic rendering: Introductory concepts. Computer Graphics and Applications, IEEE, 24(2):24-32.
Weir, D., Colgate, J., and Peshkin, M. (2008). Measuring and increasing z-width with active electrical damping. In Haptic interfaces for virtual environment and teleoperator systems, 2008. haptics 2008. symposium on, pages 169 -175.
Yasrebi, N. and Constantinescu, D. (2008). Extending the z-width of a haptic device using acceleration feedback. Haptics: Perception, Devices and Scenarios, pages 157-162.
Prerequisites / NoticeNotice:
The registration is limited to 26 students
There are 4 credit points for this lecture.
The lecture will be held in English.
The students are expected to have basic control knowledge from previous classes.

Performance assessment

Performance assessment information (valid until the course unit is held again)
Performance assessment as a semester course
ECTS credits4 credits
ExaminersR. Gassert, O. Lambercy
Typesession examination
Language of examinationEnglish
RepetitionThe performance assessment is offered every session. Repetition possible without re-enrolling for the course unit.
Mode of examinationoral 30 minutes
Additional information on mode of examinationMode of examination:
Oral Exam (30 minutes) / Project Evaluation

Course attendance confirmation is required
This information can be updated until the beginning of the semester; information on the examination timetable is binding.

Learning materials

No public learning materials available.
Only public learning materials are listed.


376-1504-00 VPhysical Human-Robot Interaction (pHRI) Special students and auditors need a special permission from the lecturers.2 hrs
Thu08-10NO E 11 »
R. Gassert, O. Lambercy
376-1504-00 UPhysical Human-Robot Interaction (pHRI) Special students and auditors need a special permission from the lecturers.2 hrs
Thu10-12ML H 34.1 »
10-12NO E 11 »
R. Gassert, O. Lambercy


No information on groups available.


General : Special students and auditors need a special permission from the lecturers
Places26 at the most
Waiting listuntil 09.09.2016

Offered in

Health Sciences and Technology MasterElective Courses IIWInformation
Health Sciences and Technology MasterElective Courses IIWInformation
Mechanical Engineering BachelorMechatronicsWInformation
Mechanical Engineering BachelorBiomedical EngineeringWInformation
Mechanical Engineering MasterRobotics, Systems and ControlWInformation
Mechanical Engineering MasterBioengineeringWInformation
Robotics, Systems and Control MasterCore CoursesWInformation