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NOVEMBER 17 - 19, 2020
#hygienix20 @HygienixNow
Thursday, November 19
11:00 am - 12:00 pm

Bringing Scientific Certainty to Decisions About Product Feel

It would be nice if a simple, quick way existed to find why consumers perceive a product to be softer than others. But softness cannot be measured directly -- and it certainly cannot be measured as a single numeric index -- because it is a subjective perception triggered by some combination of the product's tactile properties (haptics): texture, friction, thermal perception, compliance and adhesion. Moreover, the perception of softness depends on the specific products and materials under comparison. For example, one product may be perceived to be softer than another due to differences in their texture and adhesion properties; yet compared to another product the difference may only be in their friction property. Complicating matters, consumers don’t always prefer the ‘softest’ material for a given application due to factors unrelated to haptics -- such as subjective expectations of product performance, and the influence of non-tactile sensory perception like look and smell.

This presentation will explain the psychophysics of tactile perception, and present a framework for assessing tactile perception -- especially softness -- and determining its effect on consumer preference. The framework relies on objective, repeatable, biomimetic, multi-dimensional quantifications of product haptics that can be correlated with subjective data on consumer perception and preference. The end goals include objective guidance for product formulation and manufacturing, and data-driven backing of marketing claims.


» Peter Botticelli

Director, Customer Solutions, SynTouch, Inc.


Peter A. Botticelli joined SynTouch as Director of Customer Solutions with a strong background in custom robotics and control systems. Peter studied electrical engineering at Worchester Polytechnic Institute and the University of Massachusetts, Lowell. He worked in development as a robotics engineer at Barrett Technology Inc. and UniFirst Corporation. At SynTouch, Peter develops state-of-the art machine sensing technology, working with leaders in various industries including consumer electronics, automotive, textiles, and consumer goods to provide novel applications for machine touch.