Jan van Erp

Jan van Erp

Professor Tangible User Interaction
Jan van Erp

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

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. Examples include brain computer interfaces, multi-sensory user interfaces, human-controlled robotics, visualization of big data, and the interaction between body and brain.

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

By studying body-brain interactions, we intend to discover the mechanistic way they 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 Leaving, ICT, and Defence, Safety & Security.

Recent results

In the area of telepresence robotics, multisensory experience, and mediated social interaction we expanded our knowledge on embodiment and on mediation of social cues. The knowledge is applied in the xprize avatar competition (qualified for the semi-finals in 2022) and social extended reality pilots where we focus on increasing user experience.

I contributed to the initiation of an IEEE future topic on telepresence. In the area of (mediated) social touch, we continued to build our knowledgebase on robot-initiated social touch, mediated human-to-human touch, and on electroactive polymers as advanced touch displays. We also advance the field by coordinating the Dutch society for the advancement of social touch and as lead guest editor for a Frontiers special issue on social touch (to be published in 2022).

In the area of physiological computing, we develop innovative knowledge and technologies in the area of hyperscanning. We published in important journals, and hope to attract new funding in 2022 through a NWA proposal currently under review. In the area of body-brain interactions, we completed two complex experiments with human participants. We embed the results in our activities for two NATO groups on neuroenhancement and microbiome applications.

PhD supervision

  • Daisuke Kaneko (Kikkoman Europe R&D)
  • Daisuke Kaneko: (neuro-) physiology of taste and food choice.
  • Ward Venrooij: Big data visualisation and real-time intelligence.
  • Ivo Stuldreher: Physiological synchrony in groups.
  • Charelle Bottenheft: Human information processing in demanding conditions.
  • Sara Falcone: Telepresence and embodiment.
  • Judith Weda: Perception of electroactive polymers as tactile actuators.
  • Camille Sallaberry: Telepresence and social interaction at a distance.
  • Dasha Kolesnyk: Social touch and virtual agents (postdoc).

Top publications

  • Willemse, C.J.A.M. & Van Erp, J.B.F. (2019). Social Touch in Human-Robot Interaction: Robot-initiated touches can induce positive responses without extensive prior bonding. International Journal of Social Robotics, 11(2), 285–304. doi: 10.1007/s12369-018-0500-9.
  • Kaneko, D., Toet, A., Brouwer, A.-M., Kallen, V. & Van Erp, J.B.F. (2018). Methods for evaluating emotions evoked by food experiences: A literature review. Frontiers in Psychology, 9:911. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00911.
  • De Dieuleveult, A.L., Siemonsma, P.C., Van Erp, J.B.F. & Brouwer, A.-M. (2017). Multisensory integration: a systematic review on age related changes and activities of daily life. Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience. doi: 10.3389/fnagi.2017.00080


Kampweg 55
NL-3769 DE Soesterberg

Postal address

P.O. Box 23
NL-3769 ZG Soesterberg