Engineers, developers or hobbyists interested in building haptic feedback systems may be interested in TactorBots a haptic design Toolkit specifically designed for “out of the lab exploration of emotional robotic touch” say its creators. Check out the video below to learn more about the system and the custom web-based software running on a PC that controls the Tactor modules.
“TactorBots includes both software and hardware, with the hardware coming in several different modules. Each module is wearable on the user’s wrist and has a unique way of touching their arm. One Tactor module strokes the user’s arm, while another taps them. There are other Tactor modules for rubbing, shaking, squeezing, patting, and pushing. Because each module only needs to perform a single tactile motion, they can do their jobs very well. It is also possible to chain several modules together so the user can feel the different sensations across their arm.”
TactorBots robotic touch
” Emerging research has demonstrated the viability of emotional communication through haptic technology inspired by interpersonal touch. However, the meaning-making of artificial touch remains ambiguous and contextual. We see this ambiguity caused by robotic touch’s “otherness” as an opportunity for exploring alternatives. To empower emotional haptic design in longitudinal out-of-lab exploration, we devise TactorBots, a design toolkit consisting of eight wearable hardware modules for rendering robotic touch gestures controlled by a web-based software application. “
“We deployed TactorBots to thirteen designers and researchers to validate its functionality, characterize its design experience, and analyze what, how, and why alternative perceptions, practices, contexts, and metaphors would emerge in the experiment. We provide suggestions for designing future toolkits and field studies based on our experiences. Reflecting on the findings, we derive design implications for further enhancing the ambiguity and shifting the mindsets to expand the design space.”
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