Craig Shultz (he/him/his)

Craig is an Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Illinois College of Engineering and co-founder of Fluid Reality. He specializes in interactive embedded systems and haptic actuation. His work has won 6 best paper awards and nominations at premiere ACM and IEEE venues and has been featured in venues such as NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, TechCrunch, and Engadget

Before UIUC and Fluid Reality, Craig finished his post-doc at the Future Interfaces Group at the Human-Computer Interaction Institute, and was the VP of Research and Development at Tanvas, where he developed novel electroadhesive touchscreens based on his work in surface haptics at Northwestern University's Center for Robotics and Biosystems.

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Research Agenda

I invent, build, and evaluate novel interaction technologies that open the door to wholly new computing experiences, with a particular focus on tactile interfaces. The sense of touch remains underutilized when it comes to how we interact with computers. I believe the primary reason for this is the lack of sophisticated and functional haptic displays and the underdevelopment of haptic design practice and science needed to successfully implement and proliferate them. 

I pioneer such haptic technologies using an inherently interdisciplinary approach, pulling from domains of psychophysics and electrical, mechanical, and computer engineering to prototype functional hardware platforms. I also use ideation and exploration techniques from human-computer interaction (HCI) research to evaluate use cases in contemporary computing contexts, such as IoT, physical computing, VR/XR, mobile devices, and wearables. 

I mature especially promising technologies using a scientific engineering approach, which involves diving deeply into the physical operating principles of the device and its perceptual effects on users in order to refine core capabilities and enable new functionality. The long term goal of my research is to elevate haptic rendering to the sophistication level of graphics and audio systems through the development of practical, tactile hardware and software systems capable of rendering complex haptic signals relevant to perception and user experience.

Contact Information

Select Publications

DynaButtons: Fast Interactive Soft Buttons with Analog Control

Published at IEEE HAPTICS 2024

Fluid Reality: High-Resolution, Untethered Haptic Gloves using Electroosmotic Pump Arrays

Published at ACM UIST 2023

Flat Panel Haptics: Embedded Electroosmotic Pumps for Scalable Shape Displays

Published at ACM CHI 2023

TriboTouch: Micro-Patterned Surfaces for Low Latency Touchscreens 

Best Paper Nomination (top 5% of papers)

Published at ACM CHI 2022

Mouth Haptics in VR using a Headset Ultrasound Phased Array 

Best Paper (top 1% of papers)

Published at ACM CHI 2022

LRAir: Non-Contact Haptics Using Synthetic Jets 

Best Paper (top of entire conference)

Published at IEEE Haptics Symposium 2022

The Application of Tactile, Audible, and Ultrasonic Forces to Human Fingertips Using Broadband Electroadhesion

Best Application Paper (top paper of the year) 

Published in IEEE Transactions on Haptics 2018

Exploring Affective Communication Through Variable-Friction Surface Haptics 

Best Paper Nomination (top 5% of papers)

Published at ACM CHI 2014