Emerging surface haptic technologies exploit wave physics to create software-programmable two-dimensional haptic displays. However, designing such systems is challenging due to the complex dependence of wave propagation on the system’s hardware arrangement, materials, and boundary conditions. We present a modular system for exploring design opportunities for wave-mediated haptic feedback via elastic surfaces. The system integrates an array of repositionable, custom electromagnetic actuators that excite shear waves which propagate in a reconfigurable elastic medium. We use optical vibrometry imaging to capture data that fully encode the transmission of waves in this system. We present methods that leverage the linearity of wave transport and the acquired data to efficiently implement and evaluate a variety of hardware configurations and software methods for displaying dynamic, spatially-resolved two-dimensional haptic feedback. These techniques can allow researchers to rapidly investigate methods for engineering software-programmable surface haptic displays based on wave excitation. Click here for download    or you can find it online here.