Donald Degraen

Doctoral Researcher


Research Interests

Virtual RealityUbiquitous ComputingHuman FactorsFabricationHCIHaptic Feedback

Open Thesis Topics

Vibrations provided by our smartphone inform us about notifications and events through our sense of touch. By coupling vibrations with user actions such as applying pressure on a surface, one can create illusions of a click (e.g., Apple ‘Force Touch’ trackpad) or change the perceived features of the surface (e.g., softness). While there is a large body of existing research investigating this vibrotactile feedback, designing such structured tactile messages remains a challenge. Leveraging better non-visual cues when interacting with graphical elements on touch user interfaces (UI) would lead to more refined and subtle interaction techniques. 

For this thesis, you will build a tool to design vibrotactile effects for graphical touch UIs. Using this tool, a designer should be able to load a UI element and create and refine vibrotactile effects using direct manipulation techniques. These approaches could be similar to existing approaches such as vocalizations [1], and build on existing vibrotactile libraries [2] or parametric design tools [3]. This design tool could support building novel touch feedback for the web [4], thus creating novel opportunities for designing web interactions. Using the created design tool, you will perform a user study investigating the differences in design approaches.


This work focuses on mobile design. The choice of supporting libraries and toolkits remains open for discussion with the supervisors.


  • Interest in vibrotactile design

  • Knowledge about mobile

  • Completed HCI lecture and attended at least one seminar at our chair

How to apply

Please send me an email with the following pieces of information (if you do not answer every point, your application will not be considered):

  • When you plan to start the thesis

  • When you plan to finish the thesis

  • A short motivational statement why this topic is interesting for you

  • A summary why you be a good fit for this topic

  • Your transcript of records

After reviewing your application, we will come back to you and provide you with an initial evaluation assignment.


[1] Weirding Haptics:
[2] VibViz:
[3] Interhaptics:
[4] HapticsJs:


Ongoing Theses

  • Everyday Objects in VR (Master, collaboration with André Zenner)
  • Spray-on Haptics (Master)
  • An Evaluation of Plant-Based Devices in the Home (Master, collaboration with Bruno Fruchard and Marc Teyssier)
  • A Controller Interface for Haptic Design in VR (Bachelor)
  • Slipperiness in Haptic Walking (Master, collaboration with Martin Feick)
  • Metamaterial Proxy Interfaces (Master, collaboration with Martin Feick)

Finished Theses

  • Anna Reindl, A Dynamic Passive Haptic Feedback Device for Texture Interaction in VR (Bachelor)
    • Results contributed to a publication at DIS'20
  • Hannah Hock, FamilyFlower - an Artificial Flower to foster Distant Family Connections (Bachelor)
    • Results contributed to a publication at MUM'21
  • Latifa Abdullayeva, Understanding Autonomous Device Behavior in a Social Internet of Things environment through Personality Traits (Master)
  • Tobias Sander, Tangible Gamification (Master, collaboration with Max Altmeyer)
    • Results contributed to a publication at OzCHI'21
  • Marc Schubhan, Hakoniwa: Enhancing Physical Gamification using Miniature Garden Elements (Master)
    • Results contributed to a publication at MindTrek'21
  • Osama Haroon, Look at those hands, are they small hands? (Master)
  • Ziqian 'Charlie' Chen, Human Actuation for Haptics in Virtual Reality (Master, collaboration with Bruno Fruchard)
  • Elena Werny, EcoMeal: Gamified Eco-Feedback for food products using a virtual Vegetable Patch (Master)



Publications ()