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Demise of Vincent Hayward

It is with deep sadness that we learned of the death of Vincent Hayward, on Wednesday 10 May, at the age of 68, following a long illness. Vincent was an exceptional person who dedicated his life to the fields of haptics and robotics, leaving an indelible mark on our scientific community.

After his studies in France (Ing. Ecole Centrale of Nantes in 1978, PhD thesis at LIMSI in 1981), Vincent was a Research Fellow at CNRS, then moved in 1989 to the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at McGill University in Quebec. He started there as an assistant before becoming an associate professor and a full professor in 2006. In 2008, he returned to France to take up a position at ISIR, via an international chair at the Pierre and Marie Curie University. He was one of the first French recipients of the ERC advanced grant in 2009 and then of the ERC Proof of Concept Grant in 2014. But Vincent was not limited by the boundaries of laboratories and universities and in 2017-2018, he took a leave of absence to become Professor of Tactile Perception and Technology at the School of Advanced Studies, University of London, thanks to a prestigious Leverhulme Trust grant. Since 2016, he had been devoting part of his time to the development of Actronika, a start-up dedicated to haptic technology that he had created in Paris. Among countless accolades for his outstanding scientific contributions, Vincent was elected Fellow of the IEEE in 2008 and a member of the Academy of Sciences in 2019. 

Throughout his career, Vincent has dedicated himself to exploring the fields of touch and haptics, after early years devoted to robotics and control. His contributions in these areas have been major and will continue to inspire future generations. In addition to his research activities, Vincent has dedicated himself to the training of several generations of engineers and researchers. He has a strong commitment to pedagogy and mentoring, and has invested a great deal of time and effort in creating engaging haptics courses during his career at McGill and Sorbonne University. 

Vincent was not only a brilliant researcher with an immense scientific culture. He was a model of enthusiasm and curiosity. He embodied the joy of scientific exploration, using his intuition and introspection to generate revolutionary ideas. His relentless pursuit of knowledge and demanding scientific approach allowed him to expand our understanding of human haptic perception, while at the same time bringing about major technological advances in the field of haptic interfaces. 

Those fortunate enough to have known Vincent will remember him for his wisdom, determination, kindness and generosity. He touched the lives of countless friends, fellow PhD students and trainees, and leaves a lasting legacy that will continue to resonate within the scientific community.

Article in memoriam of Vincent Hayward on Eurohaptics, where you can leave a personal message in tribute to Vincent.