Controlling touch perception with chemically and physically engineered surfaces

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The human sense of touch is an exquisitely sensitive and complex system enabling us to feel object properties. Surface coatings can manipulate our subjective perception and emotional attitude towards objects and consumer products. Surface structure also determines how we handle objects and tools. We can engineer unique surface coatings with geometrical and chemical precision, allowing us to test the limits of the human sensory system and explore mechanisms shaping perception. By combining materials chemistry advances with neurophysiology, and psychophysics we aim to describe the relationship between material properties, sensory processes and perception, advancing fundamental neuroscience and product design.

The ideal candidate for this interdisciplinary project should demonstrate competence in one of the related research fields and show willingness and aspiration to broaden their horizon, work and coordinate effort within the research team and learn across disciplines. Examples of base skills and knowledge useful for the project: knowledge of synthetic chemistry, physical chemistry or soft matter physics,  biomaterials, neuroscience methods (electrophysiology, psychophysics, haptics, computational neuroscience), biomedical engineering (artificial sensors, computational skills, modelling, signal processing, image processing).  Experience working with telesensory devices and robotics would be of advantage.

Supervisory team
Stuart
Prescott

Engineering
Chemical Engineering
Ingvars
Birznieks

Medicine
Medical Sciences
Heba
Khamis

Engineering
Biomedical Engineering
s.prescott@unsw.edu.au