Ali Israr



Bio-Sketch: [CV]

I am a haptics researcher and engineer. I was born in Karachi, Pakistan and lived most of my early childhood in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. I received my B.Sc from University of Engineering and Technology Lahore, Pakistan (1999) and then Masters (2004) and PhD (2007) degrees from Purdue University (IN, USA), all in Mechanical Engineering. 
After 2 years of postdoctoral research in Rice University (TX, USA) I joined Disney Research, the Walt Disney company. Currently I am a Sr. Research Engineer exploring the use of haptic technologies in entertainment, educational and assistive media.
I have created multitude of multisensory user experiences and stimulated users in virtual environments, entertainment, educational and therapeutic settings; mobile, wearable and handheld gaming consumer products; training, autos, medical and assistive devices and many more.

What is haptics?
"Haptics" is related to the science of touch. Similar to other sensory modalities, touch is critical for user interactions, learning and adjustment to surrounding environments. A human's haptic system is responsible for perception of vibrations, textures, compliance, weight, resistance, warmth, coldness, electric shocks, pain, itch, vertigo, balance, acceleration, pressure, gravity, and proprioception. It also has strong influence in social, affective and interpersonal communication. Unlike other sensory systems the haptics system utilize the entire human body, and is characterize by active and passive modes. Similar to olfaction (smell) and gustation (taste), haptics is under explored and loosely utilized.
Haptics is unique!
() Haptics is sensed all around the human body; beyond the head/face region of the human body. 
() Haptics has active (output), passive (input) and combined (input-output) modes.
() Decoding haptic experiences are complex and multivariate, due to wide variety of touch receptors and perception modalities.
() Haptic perception has spectral, temporal and spatial characteristics, and posses similar sensory features as in vision and sound. 
() Haptics is proximal. Users can see and hear distal stimulations, however, haptic stimuli is mostly created directly on the body. New mid-air haptic technologies are exciting and challenging, and can produce haptic stimulus at a distance. 
() Haptics is delicate, personal, affective yet intrusive.
() Haptics sense has been reproduced by digital technologies. However many technologies engage the sense of touch by simple vibrations, handheld force-feedback devices, rumble-like sensations, and through motion platforms. Haptic seats, wearables and texture displays have been recently introduced for consumer use. Grid-like and multi-attribute haptic systems are also demoed in conferences and exhibitions.
() sensory systems for touch are: mechaoreceptors in the skin, nociceptor, thermoreceptor, hair follicle receptors and free nerve endings (cutaneous); baroreceptors and non-cutaneous free nerve endings; semicircular canals and Otolithic organs (vestibular system); and tendon
and muscle spindle stretches, and movement in joint capsules (proprioception).
() Some mechanoreceptors respond to disease and infections in the body.
() Receptors similar to haptic receptors are also present in plants.
() Neurosensory research has shown activation of "non-haptic" regions in the brain by haptic stimulation in amputees, blinds and impaired individuals.
() Sensory illusions in haptics are robust and can be programmed.
My research involves multidisciplinary topics including: touch perception & psychophysics, mechanical design, mechatronics and human-computer-interaction. My interests are haptic technologies and embodiments, interactive environments and immersive experiences, haptic media production and delivery systems, augmented environments and toys, and, sensory illusions, sensory substitution, sensory enhancements and sensory augmentations. In addition, I am interested in novel materials and fabrication techniques, skin, muscle and organ stimulation, robotics, virtual reality systems, and human testing techniques.
Currently I am a Senior Research Engineer in Disney Research, The Walt Disney Company. 
I look for new opportunities to continue my research in haptics and similar technologies and produce new exciting products, communication protocols, and entertaining and educational media.

 Work Experience
  • Jan 2001 – Dec 2006  Teaching Assistant 
    Department of Mechanical Engineering, Purdue University, USA
    ME 352 Machine Design (Lead TA; best TA award) 
    ME 586 Microprocessors in Electromechanical Systems
    ME 375 System Modeling and Analysis
  • Jul 1999 – Jul 2000  Junior Engineer
    Echo West (pvt) Ltd., Pakistan



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