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The University of Southampton

Wendy Adams, Psychology Professor, leads EU-funded research project

Published: 27 July 2017
Vision and Touch project in action

Wendy Adams, Professor of Experimental Psychology, has led the 100th EU-funded research project under the EU Innovative Training Networks (ITN) scheme. Professor Adams’ multi-disciplinary Dynamics in Vision and Touch (DyViTo) project received the highest-rated score from H2020 the University has seen.

Professor Adams explains her project, “To perform real world tasks such as getting dressed or operating machinery, we need to quickly and flexibly integrate information received from the different senses, such as vision and touch.

“For example, we effortlessly pick up a wine glass and take a sip without dropping the glass or spilling the contents. However, this apparently simple action requires us to estimate the size, shape, weight and material properties of the object and plan our actions accordingly – we tailor where we grasp the object, and how much force to apply in different directions. Within 100 milliseconds of contact, we modify our grasping action in response to haptic (touch) feedback. For example, the object might be more slippery than it first appeared and we reflexively increase force to prevent it sliding through our fingers.

“Understanding how we perform multisensory integration ‘on the fly’ is a key challenge with important applications in digital and virtual environments. Communication, entertainment and commerce increasingly rely on realistic and immersive virtual worlds that we can interact with.

“Our goal is to produce a step change in the industrial challenge of creating virtual objects that look, feel, move and change like ‘the real thing’”.

The project aims to develop a new generation of researchers who will increase our understanding of the ‘look’ and ‘feel’ of real and virtual objects and provide Europe with key innovators in the developing field of visual-haptic technologies. This involves scientists from nine institutions across five countries with expertise spanning Psychology, Neuroscience, Computer Science, Graphical Rendering and Physics.

An interdisciplinary training programme for 11 EU PhD students that includes secondments to industrial and public outreach partners is integral to the project.

Three awards under this scheme have been awarded to Southampton, which brings the total awards funded under H2020 to one hundred.

More information after Professor Wendy Adams’ research can be found here:

Additionally, Professors Malcolm Levitt, Marcel Utz and Atul Bhaskar secured funding for their respective projects, and more information can be found in the Re:action article below.

There are still opportunities to bid for EU Innovative Training Network grants which are open to all topics of interest. For further information please contact the University’s EU Office on

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