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haptics The study of the sense of touch in humans and machines. Two types of sensing are involved: movement and force signals from muscles and joints; and cutaneous touch or tactile signals from the skin. Haptics is important for robotics where objects are to be manipulated or explored by a machine. It is also very important for virtual reality systems and new forms of human-machine interfaces, where users can touch and feel synthetic objects. Applications include teleoperator systems (including surgery, demining, and hazardous materials), haptic rendering and modeling, and advanced computer input devices (tactile displays and haptic joysticks).