Prof. Marcia O'Malley is the new Chair of the
IEEE Technical Committee on Haptics (TCH)

Dear Members of the Technical Committee on Haptics:

We are happy to announce that Prof. Marcia O'Malley has been elected as the next Chair of TCH. Our hearty congratulations to Marcia!

Thank you all for participating in our second worldwide web-based election process.

We look forward to your continued support!

Mandayam A. Srinivasan
Antonio Frisoli
Dong-Soo Kwon
TCH Election Committee


Marcia O'Malley
  • Marcia O'Malley

    Rice University, US


Download the biosketch of Marcia O'Malley from here [pdf].


Vision Statement

I am seeking your support and vote of confidence to serve as the next Chair of the Technical Committee on Haptics.
To that end, I will provide my vision for leading TCH, administrative experience, evidence of leadership, and service to the community.
My goals as chair of the TCH will be to first identify and understand ‘what should the TCH do for its membership’, and then, in the context of our joint sponsorship between RAS and CS under IEEE, determine mechanisms and processes that will enable the TCH to best fulfill those aims. Specifically, I plan to work with the executive committee (including the advisory members) of the TCH to:

  • Identify new programmatic needs of the TCH membership and implement programs with broadest support and impact. Examples of such activities to date have been the student exchange program and the TCH Early Career Award
  • Work with the RAS Technical Activities Board to explore opportunities for enhancing the activities of the TCH.
  • Define TCH operational guidelines. We are a relatively young TC with an active executive board. To ensure vibrancy as we move into the future, I would like to provide some structure in areas such as
    • Terms for executive board members
    • Formalizing relationships with RAS and CS (as we are a jointly-sponsored technical committee) with regard to member rights, conference sponsorship, and other TC procedures
  • Explore the potential for TCH to serve as a bridge between the various haptics conferences and, where there is interest, the IEEE societies as well.

Currently I serve as one of the two TCH Co-Chairs.

In this role I have organized the student exchange program application and review process, supported the chair in the preparation of reports and updates to the Technical Activity Boards of both the Robotics and Automation Society and the Computer Society, and represented TCH at the Computer Society Technical Activities Operating Committee Business Meeting held in 2009.

Later this year I will be stepping down as Chair of the Robotics Technical Committee for the ASME Dynamic Systems and Controls Division. In my four years as co-chair and subsequently as chair of this TC, I have worked to broaden participation and increase membership.

I was part team that spearheaded the elevation of the Robotics group from ‘technical panel’ to ‘technical committee’ within the division, which require a substantial membership and ongoing demonstration of technical activities that serve the membership.

For example, we have organized special issues in a number of journals (IJRR, ASME JCISE, and IEEE/ASME TMECH). Additionally, we have successfully organized special sessions, tutorials, workshops, and invited sessions at the annual DSCC and ACC conferences of interest to the Robotics community within ASME.

Within the haptics community, I am a member of the founding editorial board of the IEEE Transactions on Haptics, where I serve as an Associate Editor. Additionally, I have served on the Haptics Symposium Program Committee (2003-2008) where I have participated on the awards committee, handled demonstration session arrangements, and solicited support from industrial sponsors.

I feel that these experiences both as a member of the haptics community and in leadership roles have adequately prepared me to step into the role of Chair of the TCH. I look forward to the opportunity to serve.


Vision Statement

My interests lie in non-visual interaction with a focus on usability and design for all, also in mobile settings. I feel it is an important mission to make more researchers, developers and designers more aware of haptics and how it can be used to improve the user experience.

A particular challenge lies in mobile haptics - although all phones can vibrate the use of haptic feedback is still quite limited and I think effort should be put into strengthening the role of haptics in the mobile communities.
As a chair of TCH I would try to establish more links with the usability and mobile communities - although it is important to have specialized haptics groups and events I think it is also important to make the rest of the community more aware of the benefits of haptics.

On the more administrative side I have been in charge of several national projects, and have been responsible for the department participation in the EU projects MICOLE, ENABLED and ENACTIVE. I am currently coordinating the large scale integrating EU project HaptiMap (
I was involved in the organization of NordiCHI 2008, formally as the short paper chair, but also as a member of the core organization group. In addition I am and have been involved in organizing conference workshops related to my research interests.

I find the organization of conferences and workshops important, and hope to be able to do more in this area in the future.

Finally I am interested in how the internet can be used, both for the spreading of information but also for community building. Since I work with design for all and accessibility, I find it important to maintain ways of reaching and interacting not only with other researchers but also with the general public.



Acknowledgements for nomination web support to Prof. Antonio Frisoli (Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna, Italy), Technical Committee on Haptics Vice Chair for Information Dissemination.