Vincent Hayward – In memoriam

Vincent Hayward in Can Tho in 2019 teaching orphans (seen in the back) robotics (courtesy of Anh Thu Dinh).

It is with deep sadness that we share the news of the passing of Professor Vincent Hayward on Wednesday, 10 May, at the age of 68. Vincent was an exceptional individual who dedicated his life to the fields of haptics and robotics, leaving an indelible mark on the scientific community.

In 1989, Vincent joined the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at McGill University, starting as an Assistant Professor and eventually rising to the positions of Associate Professor and, ultimately, full Professor in 2006. His unwavering passion for his field led him to join the Université Pierre et Marie Curie in 2008. In 2017-2018, he took a leave of absence to become a Professor of Tactile Perception and Technology at the School of Advanced Studies of the University of London, supported by a prestigious Leverhulme Trust Fellowship. Prior to that, he also had received an advanced ERC grant, which showcases his excellence in research. Since 2016, he has spent part of his time contributing to the development of a start-up company in Paris, Actronika SAS, dedicated to the development of haptic technology. He was elected a Fellow of the IEEE in 2008 and a member of the French Academy of Sciences in 2019.

Throughout his career, Vincent focused on exploring the realms of touch and haptics, robotics, and control. His contributions to these fields were significant and will continue to inspire future generations. In addition to his academic pursuits, Vincent dedicated himself to nurturing the next wave of talent. His commitment to pedagogy and mentorship was resolute, and he invested considerable time and effort in creating engaging haptics courses during his tenures at McGill University and Sorbonne University.

Vincent was not only a brilliant scientist but also a beacon of enthusiasm and curiosity. He epitomized the sheer joy of scientific exploration, embracing intuition and introspection to generate groundbreaking ideas. His relentless pursuit of knowledge allowed him to unravel the unexpected and to expand our understanding of the intricate haptics system. Vincent took great pride in his undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral trainees, watching them flourish as they became esteemed professors with their own thriving research programs and respected industry researchers with leading companies.

Those fortunate enough to have known Vincent will remember him for his wisdom, determination, kindness, and boundless generosity. He touched the lives of countless friends, colleagues, and trainees, leaving an enduring legacy that will continue to resonate within the scientific community.

Although his physical presence is no longer with us, the impact of Vincent’s work and his spirit will live on, inspiring us to push boundaries, embrace curiosity, and create a better world through science. May his memory be a guiding light for all those who embark on the path of knowledge and discovery. We send our deepest condolences and wish to pay heartfelt tribute to the enduring support of Anh-Thu Dinh, Vincent’s longtime partner, who remained steadfastly by his side until the very end.

The comment section is open to all those who wish to make a personal contribution in tribute to Vincent (comments are moderated). The comments will be shared with Vincent’s closest family and friends.

60 thoughts on “Vincent Hayward – In memoriam”

  1. Ildar Farkhatdinov

    Dear Vincent, thank you for being with us and for us. Being part of your team in Paris was a priceless experience for me. Your curiosity and generosity inspired so many people and multiple generations. Your contributions will not be forgotten.
    *photo of Vincent trying haptic demonstrations at Eurohaptics 2014 (Versailles, France)

  2. Gavin Buckingham

    Dear Vincent – we met only a few times in person, but these meetings were always so supportive and insightful. Your impact on my research was immeasurable, and your truly foundational legacy to the field of haptics cannot be understated. But the truest testament to your role as a scientist, and your character, must be the huge number of mentees and trainees who have built on your work and speak so proudly to have worked with you.

  3. Anatole Lécuyer

    My exchanges with Vincent are so many good memories, rich moments, often funny, full of surprises, unexpected statements and often contrary to the received ideas.

    I remember in particular a bus trip from Bologna to Pisa, to go to the World Haptics 2005 conference, very late, both of us tired, after our plane had been diverted. Vincent told me in his adamant way: “Forget about haptics, the main thing has been found. It’s a finished field. We must turn to other topics”. I still laugh..

  4. Thanks Vincent. You have been my real PhD supervisor. I learnt so much from you. Thanks for having believed in me, for your support letters, and for all your mentorship throughout the years.

  5. You meet a few people in your life and career who really helps you, who you can trust and with whom you suddenly progress. Vincent is one of them for me and I am very grateful for it. During a common course at UPMC, EU projects and the supervision of common students, small sentences let me realise what haptics is about and what i could do to understand it better. Never a negative comment, though a clear vision of what is important and what is less. On the top of that the unique laugh and smile of Vincent. Thank you Vincent!

  6. Thank you, Vincent, for your impactful lifelong contributions to Haptics. I’m personally grateful for your contributed book chapter (co-edited by Miguel and I), your discussion with me about tactile haptics, and your mentorship. You’ll be missed.

  7. Dear Vincent – I enjoyed your creativity and enthusiasm for haptics for so many years. We miss you.

    Mark C.

    (picture: Vincent tries out some gecko adhesives at Stanford)

  8. I never had the chance to work with Dr. Hayward, but I was inspired by him since the first time we met at the EuroHaptics 2014. He was always kind and accessible. Then, as a Ph.D. candidate in 2016, it was invaluable to receive a sign of approval from Vincent when I presented my work at the Haptics Symposium that year. Thank you, Vincent. You will be missed!

  9. You will be missed, Vincent, from the foothills of the Rockies! Thanks for your mentorship, stimulating discussions, fun chats about cuisines …….

  10. I remember him building intricate mechanisms on his gas stove in his apartment in Montreal (to melt the solder connecting small copper tubes), and me watching in awe at his creativity in design AND construction. He was always a true pleasure to talk to.

  11. Vincent, thank you for being a thought leader. I enjoyed many workshops we gave talks together. I always looked forward to your talks because they had impact and insight. Legends never die. You are leaving behind scientific approaches in many. They will pass them on too. Rest in peace!

  12. Henrik Jörntell

    Dear Vincent, You will always be remembered as a pioneer of historic proportions in the field of haptics, What in addition should always be remembered is your tremendous breadth and depth of general scientific knowledge, how open-minded and humble you were for new ideas, which made you a unique cross-disciplinary inspirational source for scientists at all levels and across all parts of the world.

  13. My first meeting with Vincent was in his lab at Jussieu. Almost immediately, he pressed something into my hands and had me experience a haptic illusion. I remember his busy, self-effacing, enthusiastic rush to show more and more and to promote his students and colleagues. We became firm friends and temporarily colleagues when he was a Leverhulme Visiting Prof at the Institute of Philosophy at the University of London’s School of Advanced Study. Those were wonderful days. His fun, interests, knowledge delighted all my colleagues. He did wonderful work as a stellar researcher, he was a true intellectual and one of the nicest, kindest academics I have ever met. Time with Vincent was always very special and we are lucky to have spent time with him. he will be missed more than we can say.

  14. Always an inspiration and just a plain great human being. Had the pleasure of meeting Vincent in Paris during my PhD and being his TA when he just arrived. I will always remember how he kept giving me hints and advice every time we talked. You will be missed.

  15. I met Vincent as an undergraduate at McGill, and later worked with him on vibrotactile actuators at UPMC. I distinctly remember dropping by his office a lot in those days just to chat about this or that. It was filled to the brim with books on all sorts of topics from medicine and physiology to control theory and robotics and discarded components from haptic devices of long ago. He was always incredibly busy, often writing till late into the evening, yet he was always eager to spend hours discussing different topics relating to haptics and other related fields with an undergraduate like me who didn’t know anything yet and with a patience and enthusiasm, never encountered before or since. It was an honor to have known him.

  16. Matteo Bianchi

    I will be forever indebted to Vincent for what he gave to haptics and to me. His creativity, brilliant ideas, curiosity, intellectual honesty, immense knowledge, originality have been an inspiration for my research. Besides his unique qualities as a scientist, I will always remember his kindness. He will be tremendously missed by all of us.

  17. Vincent was my Masters and PhD supervisor from 1994 to 2000. Like others, I remember him for his creativity, enthusiasm, and energy. But he was also a gifted mentor and leader.

    Vincent cared deeply about his students’ experiences. He wanted them to have a positive and productive learning environment. He ensured that their PhDs would not go on, and on, and on, and on……

    Vincent allowed his students to find their own paths. He did not impose a research area on his students. Instead, he guided them to find their passion and way. He cared about how their learning would translate into careers. He connected his students to industry and other academics, allowing them to learn what made them tick.

    Vincent was not afraid to take bets on students. Several of his graduate students came from areas outside of electrical and mechanical engineering. He could sense talent and understood that academic diversity was powerful in his group.

    At the time, I did not fully appreciate Vincent’s talents as a people leader. I just knew he was a cool supervisor, a smart guy, who stood out from the crusty academics wearing his shiny leather trousers to McGill University (true!). After 23 years in industry, I now appreciate what a phenomenal leader of people he was.

  18. When Vincent entered the room (or Zoom), the air became charged with the expectation of brilliance and ebullience. He brought complex topics to life and infused them with new ideas. I vividly remember how at one conference, he brought a seemingly mundane sack of widgets that became a magic box of touch illusions. I will miss not only his fundamental contributions to science but his joy.

  19. I am deeply shocked and saddened to hear about Vincent’s passing. I have known him since the early 1990s in Canada, when I was a PhD student at the University of Toronto and he was a professor at McGill University. I have had the privilege of meeting with him on occasion to discuss our research pursuits and beyond, when visiting each other’s labs or attending the same conferences. To me, Vincent was a scientist in the truest sense of the word. His love of research, discovery, and invention was infectious. Every conversation I had with him was a pure delight and a lasting inspiration. Like so many of his colleagues, I admire Vincent’s amazing research and academic insights and accomplishments. I admire no less the sheer joy on his face in those moments when his mind was chasing truth in the world of the unknown. My research life is enriched because I can count such a brilliant mind as a colleague and a friend. The field of human-technology interaction has lost a giant, the world a finest human being, and those who know Vincent a most delightful friend.

    Photos of Vincent at Eurohaptics 2018 https://photos.app.goo.gl/XAdoam4ueoyhSn6f6
    and Smart Haptics 2018 https://photos.app.goo.gl/yynMkTUKwYqPV6eDA

  20. Well, Vincent, it’s been quite a journey since your robot control C library, McGill, Paris, London, your company… Is there a plenhaptic function? If we dare think robotics has a quid of science in its stew recipe, it’s because of you Vincent, and the few like you we’ve been blessed to cross our ways with. So long, Vincent. May your laughs be with you.

  21. Frédéric Giraud

    Vincent will always remain a generous scientist and a practically inexhaustible source of inspiration for our research team.
    He excelled in several areas, which has always fascinated me.

  22. Claudio Pacchierotti

    Vincent was one of a kind. His love for research and discovery was unparalleled and infectious to all those around him. He has inspired a generation of haptic students, scientists, and engineers, showing us all what we should aspire to be.

    Dear Vincent, thank you so much for your leadership and inspiration throughout all these years. You will be so missed.

    Below, a selfie taken during Eurohaptics 2014 in Paris, when I was still a young PhD student.

    Goodbye, Vincent.

  23. It was my first conference and first paper presentation when I had the chance to meet Vincent. I was in my first year PhD, as a student volunteer. His works, methods and ideas were of crucial inspiration to realise that paper.
    And I still remember the excitement of having the chance to meet in person who was the author and inventor of such fundamental works.

    Years passed so fast, and it is now already time for me to guide students.

    Dear Vincent, today, as that day, you remain an inspiration, an essential scientist, and a great person that I can tell, to my students, I have had the honour to meet one day.

    Thank you for all your passion, brilliant intuition and the immense inspiration you gave to science and to all of us.

    Goodbye.

  24. Domenico Prattichizzo

    Vincent has been one of the greatest scientists in our field. Only two months ago, we wrote each other about his hopes to join us in Delft for WHC2023. This will not happen. Vincent, we will miss you greatly!

  25. Vincent, I have known you since my very beginnings in the haptics community in 2004. It was always so much inspiration and fun to discuss with you, when you brought up your most recent insights or illusions! We will miss you. Rest in peace!

  26. Dear Vincent,
    I was elected the same day as you at the french academy of science.
    I had not heard of you before.
    We met at a couple of occasions before you got sick.
    I miss you. I wish I could have laughed and work with you for a bit.
    Nicolas MOËS

  27. Patrick van der Smagt

    Dear Vincent, the times we met during a joint project, you never failed to inspire me with your millions of ideas, thoughts, and plans. Thank you for everything you gave, and for the fun hours together.

  28. It was in 2006 when I was presenting at EuroHaptics Conference in Paris and Vincent (Mr. Hayward at that time) asked a question to my paper on impedance measurement. I was so exited that his hand went up I actually ignored the session chair and took his question directly. Two years before that I became aware of him at my first participation in a haptics conference in Munich. And you could not but notice that he was special and important to the community. He gave inspiring and understandable reviews into tactile illusions with the insight of a true researcher, the understanding and terminology of an engineer and the curiosity, eagerness and excitement of a child unwrapping a complicated boxed present. His example of the comb-illusion he performed live on stage in 2004 is still my opening to all lectures on haptics I give.
    Vincent, I always hoped to get your ideas and opinion on what we are currently working on, it is such a pity. Your insight and understanding will be missed, but your inspiration will remain with many from us! Thank you for your passion and dedication to understanding haptics!

  29. Farzam RANJBARAN

    This has been a shocking news for me although it’s been years since I saw Vincent, I have kept great deal of fond memories of him. My sincere condolences to Vincent’s family, friends, students and colleagues.

    Although I was not his student at McGill, but every encounter or exchange I had with him while at Centre for Intelligent Machines, was pleasant, enriching and fun. He was always full of curiosity, original ideas and extremely accessible, ready to inspire and explain with enthusiasm in as much detail as was necessary ! I had a pleasure of doing a small project with him that led to a nice paper. I share all the other good things said about Vincent in these posts.

  30. Keyvan Hashtrudi-Zaad

    I met Vincent for the first time at ICRA 1996. I was a student then. He approached me after I presented my work in telerobotics and provided me with some practical feedback. We ran into each other at many robotics and haptics conferences since then. He was always excited to share his new ideas and get engaged in good scientific discussions. He was a true scientist, a grand explorer who led research in many areas of haptics. He will be dearly missed.

  31. Since we first met almost 30 years ago when I was just a student at a conference, then later when I came to Canada not knowing anyone there, Vincent offered friendship, alliance and support. He was one of very few people who have gone out of their way to help me and include me before I’d even earned it. I gradually discovered that he did this for countless others. Vincent really made the world a better place, and we, his friends, have a lot to live up to.

    Wishing you peace – Karon

  32. I was lucky to enjoy some two decades of interaction with Vincent Hayward. He was driven by unusual curiosity in both his engineering work and in basic understanding on how humans process information. A true intellectual with amazing breadth and depth of knowledge, he never ceased to be surprised and never ceased to surprise others with his wonderful insights.

  33. Yoshihiro Tanaka

    Dear Vincent, You always treated everyone with kindness and passion. Your talks were always exciting, and your amazing research achievements have inspired me a lot. I am sincerely grateful for your great accomplishments and your character. We will always cherish your memory.

  34. Antoine Weill--Duflos

    Dear Vincent, I remember taking your class a few years ago, I was amazed by your way of explaining haptics, and giving us hands-on experience with the haptic illusion suitcase.
    You had a way to explain complex neuroscience aspects in a very simple way, and always with a smile and enthusiast.

    I still remember the feedback on my first articles as a phd student: “the content, the ideas
    and the results are very good but the written expression oscillate between […]” and the last part will stay between you and me 🙂
    It was a good introduction to your frankness.

    Over the years it was always a pleasure discussing with you, and you always had a story to tell, a contact to share, some thoughts on a topic. I was looking to show you some of the design and experiment and get your point of view on so many subjects…

    Thank you for the introduction to haptics,
    You will be missed.

  35. Dear Vincent,
    I am deeply saddened and wanted to express my heartfelt condolences. The lab tour you invited me to remains etched in my memory as the most exceptional experience of its kind. The research results and the people I encountered were truly remarkable, a testament to your leadership and dedication. Your kindness, infectious smile, and unwavering dignity will be deeply missed. My thoughts and sympathies go out to Vincent’s family and loved ones during this difficult time.

  36. Antonio Frisoli

    We will miss you Vincent, you have made such a great contribution to the haptic community.
    Vincent has been such a great and prolific scientist, inspiring several generations of researchers and scientists in the field, his expertise extended from kinematics, actuation, control, electronics design, robotics, haptic rendering up to neuroscience and neurophysical models of perception, tech-transfer with start-ups.
    It was always a great pleasure to meet Vincent and to discuss with him about science and not only, due to his open mind and non conventional thinking, and above all his humanity and friendship. Every physical and engineering phenomenon had a clear and simple explanation for you, but at the same time you were also available to share your knowledge and were supportive to everyone.
    I met Vincent for the first time at my first Haptic Symposium in Nashville in 1999 when I was a PhD student and it has been a long friendship since then.
    This picture is from 2014 when Vincent organized Eurohaptics in Versailles! It has been so shocking to suddenly realize that you are no more physically with us, we will dearly miss you so much.

  37. I am writing to express my profound condolences on behalf of the haptic researchers in China upon hearing the tragic news of Professor Vincent Hayward’s passing. We were deeply shocked and saddened by the loss of such an esteemed scientist, who had been a driving force in the field of haptics and robotics.
    Vincent’s unwavering dedication and remarkable contributions to the field of haptics have left an indelible mark on the scientific community, particularly in China, where his influence was profound. His exceptional expertise, innovative research, and visionary leadership have inspired and guided countless researchers, including ourselves. The impact of his work will continue to shape the future of haptics for years to come.
    Beyond his academic achievements, Vincent’s spirit was equally captivating. His passion for knowledge and relentless pursuit of excellence served as a guiding light for many aspiring scientists and researchers. His enthusiasm and generosity in sharing his expertise and ideas have fostered a vibrant and collaborative research community.
    While we mourn the loss of a brilliant mind and a remarkable mentor, we are determined to honor Vincent’s legacy by carrying forward his invaluable contributions. We will remember him fondly and strive to build upon the foundation he has laid, pushing the boundaries of haptics to new heights.
    During this difficult time, we extend our heartfelt condolences to Vincent’s family, friends, colleagues, and students. May you find strength and solace in the memories of his remarkable life and the knowledge that his impact will endure. Please know that our thoughts and prayers are with you all.
    Once again, we express our deepest condolences on the passing of Professor Vincent Hayward. His absence will be deeply felt, but his legacy will forever inspire us to persevere and advance the frontiers of haptics.

  38. Domenico Prattichizzo

    IEEE Transactions on Haptics

    Paris
    May 19, 2023

    Dear Vincent,

    We are deeply saddened by your unexpected departure, which has prevented us from expressing our sincere gratitude. The void you have left in the hearts of your friends and colleagues, who worked alongside you to establish the IEEE Transactions on Haptics, is profound. Your unwavering dedication and commitment as a scientist within our community will be forever cherished. The significance of your contributions in shaping our field cannot be adequately conveyed through words alone, and we are immensely grateful for the pivotal role you played, as a leader, as a scientist, as an engineer, and as a friend.

    We would like to extend our heartfelt thanks for creating a vibrant atmosphere within our community. You understood the transformative power of cultural exchange in nurturing creativity and fueling innovation. Vincent, your influence will continue to reverberate within our publications. We are thankful for everything you have done for our community and we wish you eternal peace.

    With profound gratitude.

    Domenico Prattichizzo

    On behalf of all the EICs, co-EICs, Associate Editors, and Management Committees from both the current and past periods.

  39. William Harwin

    It was always a pleasure talking with Vincent. He not only brought excitement into the topic but also his brilliant way of thinking. On many occasions following one of these discussions I have gone back to his publications and been impressed once again by his work. My sympathies go to his family and friends, and to the haptics community who have lost a colleague and an inspirational leader.

  40. Vincent a été élu à l’Académie des Sciences en mars 2020. La réception a eu lieu le 12 octobre 2021.
    Anh Thu DINH

  41. July 2019
    Vincent gave a lecture at the Eastern International University, where his former PhD student, Dùng, is teaching. To give the kids a sense of engineering, Vincent brought (haptic) robots for them to fix, and to manipulate with their hands. To excite the kid’s creativity, Vincent asked them to build bridges with no support, from paper to connect two chairs. The kids are orphans of the buddhist pagoda Buu Tri in Can Tho, Vietnam.

  42. I hope that Vincent’s family, students, and close colleagues will receive my sincere condolences. I first met Vincent at the inaugural World Haptics Conference in Pisa in 2005 as a graduate student. Over an impromptu lunch, Vincent was kind enough to listen to me introduce my paper, say that I’d scooped him, but then go on to discuss the topic in far greater depth than I’d considered. As someone else recently commented, Vincent was so skilled at listening to your ideas and bringing out the best in them, all the while making himself so accessible and easy to connect with, even if his thinking was on another level. When you gave a talk or poster, you always hoped Vincent would comment or stop by, and he nearly always would. We in the haptics community are so fortunate for all of his contributions and kindness.

  43. Dear Vincent, Your extraordinary ideas and your excitement for them have always been inspiring to me. These are also appreciated by the students in my haptics class, who have had many of your papers as required reading, especially the delightful “taxonomy of tactile illusions and demonstrations that can be done in a hardware store.” Your impact on the haptics field and its people has been immense, and we will miss you dearly. We are grateful to see your creative and rigorous thinking live on in your former students — so we will continue to benefit from your insights. -Allison Okamura

  44. En 2019 Vincent a reçu le Grand Prix Inria de l’Académie des Sciences, Paris
    Anh Thu DINH

  45. Dear Vincent,

    I am honored to have had the chance to work alongside you and benefit from your support throughout all these years, from my time at Sorbonne University, through my thesis, and into the entrepreneurial adventure. You are undoubtedly one of the most inspiring individuals I have had the privilege to encounter on my journey. Your intellectual depth and immense generosity are unparalleled. Haptics, the field you passionately studied throughout your career, is fundamentally about transmission. It is this transmission that will endure. Your work, insatiable curiosity, and passion will remain etched in our memories. I join the entire community in sharing my fondest memories with you.
    You will be greatly missed.

    Cyril BOUNAKOFF

  46. Astrid Kappers

    It is hard to accept that Vincent is no longer with us. He always was such a prominent, inspiring and friendly person at our conferences, meetings and lab visits. His work will remain important in the future in the many research areas to which he contributed his ideas.

    Thank you for everything.

  47. Stefano Papetti

    There is not much I can add to the impressive expression of affection and respect for Vincent, both as a human being and as a scientist. Vincent possessed a unique blend of intelligence, vision and soul that set him apart. I too am deeply saddened by his untimely passing. I find myself constantly thinking about him and his brilliant, unconventional and often humorous ideas. I consider it a real honor and a fortune to have known him.

  48. Alessandro Moscatelli

    The first time I met Vincent was during my first year of postdoc. Vincent, Marc and I were working on a European project. Marc asked me to join Vincent in his laboratory in Paris, at the ISIR, to start an experiment in collaboration between the two groups.

    I was terrified, I knew nothing about haptics and my programming skills were very basic. It was an exciting experience.

    When I think back to Vincent, in most of the memories that come to my mind he is talking about some scientific research, his or someone else’s, it doesn’t matter. He looks around with curious eyes, he smiles or laughs heartily.

    So long Vincent.

  49. Jess Hartcher-O'Brien

    Farewell Vincent, the greatest of minds, the kindest of humans. Your research defined the state of the art of haptics, from physics to philosophy. Your honourary title of ‘God of Haptics’, fails to capture the passion, excitement and beauty you brought to your work and inspired in those lucky enough to have work with you! You have shaped my work, my approach to science, trained and supported me both as a scientist and a human. Research together has been a process of true discovery. Farewell my friend and my mentor. It has been an honour to walk part of this path with you.

  50. It was great to have you in our ViTac workshops Vincent and we enjoyed your talks so much. Your passion into the research on the mechanics of touch inspired so many of us who work on touch, both for humans and robots. Rest in peace in peace!

  51. Several circumstances made me too become Vincent Hayward’s PhD student at McGill, summer ’98. Once, he accompanied me to my residence in the evening. It was just across from the building wherein his office too was. I asked him whether he needed anything and also whether he wanted to briefly come in but he naturally politely declined, said he was actually on his way to his place and just wanted instead to make sure I was ok. He noticed how musical I was. His suggestion of my thesis was as if from a sweet dream world at that time: “Gesture Recognition for Virtual Rehearsals for Music Ensembles with Intercontinental Lineups”. It was just early ’99 and I’m pretty sure various bands already use it nowadays. He wanted me to take Music courses at the McGill Conservatory of Music as well. How did he know I would’ve wanted that too? In January ’99, we all there in Montreal also endured the ice storm that paralyzed the campus as well, for about one week. For reasons beyond Vincent’s will, I was not allowed to continue my PhD program, even though he too put his career at risk trying to defend me to this end as well. The afternoon before the day I had to leave, late April ’99, I entered that building once more, trying to greet him once more “in his natural habitat” (office). Through the open door, I could see he was deeply into his work, so I didn’t dare interrupt him and I went back instead. I sent him a postcard, apologizing, after I reached my next destination, instead. May he rest in peace

  52. I have been profoundly motivated by Vincent throughout my academic career. Even after all these years, I vividly recall the moment when Vincent visited the lab where I began my PhD and showed a virtual rolling ball demo that seemed like magic to me. To this day, I continue to employ the techniques I learned from Vincent to intrigue young students and introduce them to the captivating realm of haptics.

    Having had several opportunities to meet Vincent in person, I cherished every conversation with him. I always appreciate his kind guidance, fascinating perspectives, and inspiring ideas. His support means a lot to me. I consider myself fortunate to know him.

    Farewell, Vincent. You will be missed.

  53. I am deeply saddened to learn of Vincent’s passing. I met Vincent during an internship in his laboratory in Paris with one of his PhD students. I remember talking to him in his office, and I immediately saw that he was a person passionate about his field and who could talk about it for hours. I also remember a person who smiled and laughed easily. The field of haptics was not very well known at the time, and apart from his team, few people knew what haptics was and its applications. Vincent was already a very great expert in this field at the time, and it was therefore logical that he would be rewarded later for his immense work in haptics. I only knew him during this internship period with one of his brilliant PhD students, and the image I have of Vincent is a passionate person in his field, curious, enthusiastic and smiling.
    My thoughts and condolences go out to Vincent’s family and loved ones during this difficult time.

  54. Jörg Reisinger

    Vince,
    you gave me the first magic moments in the field of haptics – 2004 at your keynote in Munich. I would almost say that you lit the fire for haptics in me – your way of thinking, your incredible creativity and way of looking at and explaining things are and were unique.
    You listened to all thoughts and questions calmly and seriously and to my fascination always brought a new valuable thought and contribution to the discussion.
    You were already felt always ten thoughts and steps ahead, plus a nice guy who had eyes and “fingers” for everything.
    You will be missed in the discussion in haptics and overall human perception. But you inspired many young people and exemplified your way of thinking. That is an incredible legacy. I will never forget the conversations and activities we shared.
    I am grateful to have crossed your path.
    Rest in peace Vince,
    Jörg

  55. Not only Vincent was a pioneer researcher in Haptics with an amazing vision and talent, but he was also a kind and fun person. It was always a pleasure to exchange with him, and I regret I did not have more occasions for this.
    His contributions to science will continue to inspire thousands of researchers.

    Thank you for this legacy. We miss you.

    Rest in peace

  56. Cher Vincent,

    La première fois que nous nous sommes rencontrés était lors de ta visite à l’INRIA en 1996-97. Tu nous as fait une conférence fantastique sur l’haptique et l’importance de la conception 3D des interfaces, ainsi que sur le rôle de l’haptique et de la manipulation habile.

    Je me souviens t’avoir partagé mes résultats préliminaires sur le contrôle visuel de la manipulation d’objets, et nous avons eu une longue conversation. Plus tard, nous nous sommes retrouvés à Vancouver et à McGill en 2006, où tu as partagé tes avancées qui seraient ensuite publiées dans ton article révolutionnaire “Abrief taxonomy of tactile illusions and demonstrations that can be done in a hardware store”.

    Ta gentillesse et ton enthousiasme étaient vraiment remarquables.

    Ton départ est une grande perte.

    Cordialement,

  57. I am so sad to learn this news, and so long after Vincent left us. Vincent was very influential in my career. Early on I followed a little in his robot control footsteps , porting his robot control C library (RCCL) to different hardware, and spending some time with Lou Paul at U.Penn where Vincent was a postdoc. I remember visiting Vincent at McGill, just after I finished my PhD. Vincent was in his shape-memory alloy phase and he invited me to dinner at his house. It was the night of the Quebec independence referendum and also Halloween — I carved my first ever pumpkin. We caught up sporadically at meetings like ISER and ISRR. I also have great memories of visiting Vincent a few times during his Paris phase. I remember Vincent as a man of great curiosity and broad knowledge, he was theoretician who built stuff to prove that ideas and theory worked. Above all, he was a lovely human being and will be much missed.

  58. Vincent was one of the founders of ISER, the biennual symposia on experimental robotics which did a lot to bridge the gap between theory and experimentation in robotics. He co-organized the first one, with Oussama, in Montreal in 1989. I was privileged to help organise the 1999 edition in Sydney.

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