Jan van Erp

Principal Scientist at TNO and Professor at University of Twente on Tangible User Interaction

I believe that technology should support our performance, safety, well-being and our strive for happiness. Therefore, I work on Human-Technology Symbiosis.

Professorship chair

Tangible User Interaction (University of Twente).

Research area

I am fascinated by advanced ICT as well as by the complexity of the human brain and body and I try to realize breakthroughs where they meet, with a focus on telepresence, (mediated social) touch, and physiological computing. Examples include brain computer interfaces, multi-sensory user interfaces, human-controlled robotics, and the interaction between body and brain.

For telepresence, we aim to break the barriers of distance and to transport the operator's social and functional self to any fit for-purpose robotic avatar at any place on Earth through a compelling combination of state-of-the-art social, visual, haptic, audio and olfactory technologies.

For (mediated social) touch, we develop new touch actuators based on electro-active polymers and direct electrical stimulation for use in XR/VR and mediated social communication. We investigate their perceptual and experience profiles and perform psychophysical experiments to compare them with classic actuators like vibration motors.

For physiological computing, we intend to discover the mechanistic ways through which body and brain influence each other, ultimately leading to interventions that prevent cognitive decline caused by aging, disease or external stressors and/or facilitate cognitive enhancement for people working at the edge of their capabilities. This research area is relevant in health and disease and links the TNO units Healthy Living, ICT, and Defence, Safety & Security.

Top publications

  • Telepresence: Van Erp, J.B.F. et al. (2022). What Comes After Telepresence? Embodiment, Social Presence and Transporting One’s Functional and Social Self. 2022 IEEE International Conference on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics (SMC). IEEE. doi: 10.1109/SMC53654.2022.9945544.
  • (Mediated social) touch: Van Erp, J.B.F., MacLean, K.E., Gerling, G.J., Jewitt, C. & Toet, A. (2023). Social touch. Lausanne: Frontiers Media SA. doi: 10.3389/978-2-8325-3216-4.
  • Physiological Computing: Van Erp, J. B.F. (2022). Gastrointestinal Tract-Based Implicit Measures for Cognition, Emotion and Behavior. Frontiers in Computer Science, 4(899507), 1-7. doi: 10.3389/fcomp.2022.899507.


Kampweg 55
NL-3769 DE Soesterberg

Postal address

P.O. Box 23
NL-3769 ZG Soesterberg