Hafiz Malik Naqash Afzal


Scientia PhD Scholar 2018

(02) 9399 1672

Naqash completed his Bachelors in Mechatronics Engineering from Air University Pakistan in 2012, which included a project titled “Computer vision-based object sorting machine”.

After his bachelors, he joined NUST Pakistan (which is the top technical university in Pakistan) as a Lab Engineer where he worked in “Tribology LAB” supervised by Dr Riaz Mufti and worked on several projects funded by British Petroleum and Lubrizol USA involving a study of friction using GMR sensors and NI Data Acquisition systems. He joined Beihang university China in 2014 on the prestigious Chinese Government Scholarship for Masters in Mechatronics Engineering. Beihang University (BUAA) is a member of the prestigious Project 211 and Project 985 group of the elite Chinese public-sector universities, training world-class aeronautical engineers leading the ambitious Chinese Space Program.

His research work includes the study of neural processes, vibrotactile encoding, tactile sensory perception and application of this knowledge to the design of haptic devices. He was awarded the “Excellent Study Award 2016” by the Beijing Government and Beihang University. He joined NUST Pakistan again in 2017 after completion of master’s as Lecturer where he worked until January 2018.

After receiving the very prestigious UNSW Sydney Scientia PhD Scholarship he moved to Sydney and is now working on his PhD project with Dr Birznieks, titled “Tactile encoding of object properties relevant for dexterous manipulation and perception”. This interdisciplinary project combines various neuroscience and engineering techniques like electrophysiology, psychophysics, image processing, modelling, biomechanics, tribology and behavioural experiments.

Projects Hafiz Malik Naqash Afzal is currently involved with


Sensory Mechanisms Underlying Human Dexterity

This interdisciplinary project combines various neuroscience and engineering techniques like electrophysiology, psychophysics, image processing, modelling, biomechanics, tribology and behavioural experiments.


Sensory Mechanisms Underlying Human Dexterity




Sarah McIntyre






Localization Performance of Multiple Vibrotactile Cues on Both Arms.

Wang D, Peng C, Afzal N, Li W, Wu D, Zhang Y

To present information using vibrotactile stimuli in wearable devices, it is fundamental to understand human performance of localizing vibrotactile cues across the skin surface. In this paper, we studied human ability to identify locations of multiple vibrotactile cues activated simultaneously on both arms. Two haptic bands were mounted in proximity to the elbow and shoulder joints on each arm, and two vibrotactile motors were mounted on each band to provide vibration cues to the dorsal and palmar side of the arm. The localization performance under four conditions were compared, with the number of the simultaneously activated cues varying from one to four in each condition. Experimental results illustrate that the rate of correct localization decreases linearly with the increase in the number of activated cues. It was 27.8 percent for three activated cues, and became even lower for four activated cues. An analysis of the correct rate and error patterns show that the layout of vibrotactile cues can have significant effects on the localization performance of multiple vibrotactile cues. These findings might provide guidelines for using vibrotactile cues to guide the simultaneous motion of multiple joints on both arms.

Rhythmic Haptic Stimuli Improve Short-Term Attention.

Zhang S, Wang D, Afzal N, Zhang Y, Wu R

Brainwave entrainment using rhythmic visual and/or auditory stimulation has shown its efficacy in modulating neural activities and cognitive ability. In the presented study, we aim to investigate whether rhythmic haptic stimulation could enhance short-term attention. An experiment with sensorimotor rhythm (SMR) increasing protocol was performed in which participants were presented sinusoidal vibrotactile stimulus of 15 Hz on their palm. Test of Variables of Attention (T.O.V.A.) was performed before and after the stimulating session. Electroencephalograph (EEG) was recorded across the stimulating session and the two attention test sessions. SMR band power manifested a significant increase after stimulation. Results of T.O.V.A. tests indicated an improvement in the attention of participants who had received the stimulation compared to the control group who had not received the stimulation. The D prime score of T.O.V.A. reveals that participants performed better in perceptual sensitivity and sustaining attention level compared to their baseline performance before the stimulating session. These findings highlight the potential value of using haptics-based brainwave entrainment for cognitive training.