Rediscover the sense of touch.
We’re introducing an enhanced touch-screen experience.

01 About Us

Tanvas’ surface technology lets you feel what you see on a touchscreen – the edges of keys, the snap of a toggle switch, the swipe of a turned page, the direction and magnitude of impacts in a game.

The opportunities for user interface are boundless. Tanvas, formerly Tangible Haptics, is the exclusive licensee of a suite of patents developed in one of the world’s foremost haptics research laboratories. Tangible’s founders J. Edward Colgate and Michael Peshkin, intensively involved in the operations of the company, are Northwestern University faculty with a record of successful spin-offs.

The Technology 02

Haptics is unique among the senses in being bilateral. Consider pushing a toggle switch: the way that the switch feels doesn’t depend solely on the forces your hand applies, nor does it depend solely on the movement of the switch. It depends on the two-way relationship between motion and force. The question naturally arises: can we control the motion-force relationship on a touch screen or touch pad?

Our breakthrough technology provides a set of techniques for controlling the in-plane forces experienced by a fingertip as a programmable function of the finger’s motion. The in-plane forces arise from friction, and our techniques allow friction to be increased, decreased, even reversed or redirected.

03 The Team

Ed Colgate

Co-founder & President

Ed has dedicated most of his career to the study of haptic interface, and is considered one of the leading scholars in the field. As a professor of Mechanical Engineering at Northwestern University, Ed has maintained a robust research program that has led to two previous spin-off companies: Cobotics (acquired by The Stanley Works in 2002), and Kinea Design (acquired by HDT Robotics in 2011). He is a prolific inventor with sixteen issued patents with several more pending. He is recognized for seminal contributions to the design and control of haptic interfaces, and in 2007 was selected as the Founding Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE Transactions on Haptics. In recent years, he has focused on Surface Haptics, developing the technological foundation for Tanvas.

Michael Peshkin

Co-founder & CTO

Michael is known for his seminal contributions to physical human-robot interaction, and was a major figure in opening the gates to allow force-and-motion interaction between robots and humans in medical and industrial applications. As a professor of Mechanical Engineering at Northwestern University, his work formed the scientific core for Mako Surgical (NASDAQ:MAKO). Later he teamed up with Ed Colgate to co-founded Cobotics, Kinea Design, and now Tanvas. Michael is credited with a total of twenty patents issued with several more pending.

Greg Topel


Greg’s leadership experience crosses a variety of company structures and electro-mechanic product lines at Motorola, RedFusion Studios (an engineering consulting firm), and Life Fitness. Before joining Tanvas, Greg was R&D Manager at ITW’s Technology Center where he oversaw mechanical and manufacturing development efforts and technology evaluations for new product entries. Greg has a BSME from Northwestern University and an MBA from the University of Chicago.

Mondher Cherif

Chief Scientist

Mondher has over 20 years of experience and knowledge of materials and processes used in the touch screen industry. Before joining Tanvas, he was Chief Engineer at TPK USA and a key contributor to the developed processes and manufacturing methods for the several touchscreen offerings including the first iPhone. He also has experience working at a startup company where, as an R&D manager, he was part of a core team that commercialized products for the photonic industry, prior to the acquisition of the company by Corning. Dr. Cherif holds BS/MS degrees from Michigan State University and a PhD from the University of Maryland.

Michael Olley

Director of Electrical Engineering

Michael has more than 13 years of experience in research and design of mobile phone capacitive touch screens. Recently Michael was a Principal Staff Engineer at Motorola Mobility, tasked with the technical and managerial lead of the touch system group. He was responsible for strategy, roadmap and supplier decisions of user interface hardware technologies and is credited with two issued touchscreen related patents and another six pending. Michael holds an MSEE degree from University of Illinois at Chicago and a BSEE from the University of Waterloo.

Wes Davis

Board Member

Wes started Rand Griffin Ltd. in 2010 to leverage the 30 years of experience he has had as CEO/President of six technology companies, as well as serving as an independent Board member of seven other companies. From 1996 to 2001 he was the CEO of MicroTouch Systems, at the time the world’s largest touchscreen company. During his tenure, the company increased revenues to over $160 million and he initiated its sale to 3M. Wes was also CEO of Sionex Corporation, a start-up that developed a trace chemical detector, and Radiant Images, an early-stage company with an advanced microdisplay technology. He holds a BSE in Engineering from Princeton University and an MBA from Harvard.

Contact Us 04

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