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Announcing the 2014 Baich Award Winner: Dr. Jenna Gorlewicz

Dr. Jenna Gorlewicz, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, is the winner of the 2014 Annette and Henry Baich Research Award from the SIUE Graduate School. The Baich Award is given annually to the most outstanding STEP grant proposal for basic research conducted within the parameters of the Sigma Xi Society. Disciplines include the physical sciences, life and medical sciences, earth science, engineering, psychology and mathematics.

Although Dr. Gorlewicz is in her first year as an SIUE professor, having earned her Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering at Vanderbilt University last year, she graduated Summa Cum Laude from the SIUE Mechanical Engineering department in 2008.

Dr. Gorlewicz’s award-winning proposal, titled, “Toward Tactile Touchscreens that ‘Feel’ Real,” was chosen from a competitive field of submissions.  Highlighting variable friction technology as an important step in the development of touchscreens, Dr. Gorlewicz’s project provides insight to the benefits of variable friction, which allows touchscreens to give haptic feedback to users. This feedback eliminates the need for sight when using a touch screen by providing different touch-based feedback, such as the sensation of “smooth” or “sticky” textures that form distinct shapes.

Dr. Gorlewicz’s proposal details a process for creating and testing a design tool for variable friction touchscreens.  The tool will be used to produce prototype models which will serve to advance the touchscreens’ designs and potentially help bring them into commercial markets.  It is certain that this will significantly impact the experience of using a touchscreen device.
Gorlewicz
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