How does it feel? Understanding the “Touch-Feel” of product surfaces


The design of product surfaces exhibiting a particular “Touch-Feel” has become a major issue in many industry branches. These comprise the automotive sector, consumer electronics, fast moving consumer goods and packaging to name a few. Nowadays, products not only need to meet the aesthetical taste of the consumer concerning their optical appearance but also need to satisfy the demand for the correct “Touch-Feel“. To enable the production of surfaces with demanded haptics in a targeted manner requires a detailed knowledge of all surface and material properties, which in their complex interplay evoke the desired tactile perception. To understand and control these interrelationships, the Polymer Competence Center Leoben GmbH has set up a research initiative which, since 2015, has focused on the “Touch-Feel”, the necessary technologies for the metrological material and surface characterization and the subsequent data processing.

This webinar will provide an overview of (i) the field of product haptics in general, (ii) the relationships between haptic perception and material parameters, and (iii) how these insights can be used to design product surfaces with a good “Touch-Feel”.


Priv.-Doz. (Assoc. Prof.) DI Dr. Dieter P. Gruber is Division Manager for Surface Testing, Machine Vision and Artificial Intelligence at the Polymer Competence Center Leoben GmbH. He studied “Computational Physics and Information Technology” and “Material Physics”, which enabled him to build up knowledge in the fields of material physics, machine vision, data analysis and artificial intelligence. In the year 2015 he habilitated to Assoc. Prof. at the Montanuniversität Leoben, Austria.  Dieter P. Gruber is the author of more than 80 publications and 12 patents. He awarded numerous research prizes such as the Magna ACS Innovation Award, the SFG Fast Forward Award and the Houska Prize. He was Austrian of the Year 2014 in the category “Scientific Research”.

Dr. Thomas Ules is an experimental physicist and, together with Dieter P. Gruber, has been heading the research area “TouchToFeel” since 2017, in which research is being conducted into methods for parameterizing tactile perception using measurable parameters. The goal of this research is to bring the tactile sensing of surfaces from a purely subjective level to an objectified measurement parameter level. The research area includes experts from a wide variety of fields such as physics, plastics engineering, chemistry and machine learning. Under his leadership, a wide variety of methods for measuring tactilely relevant measurement parameters have been developed and published.