Talking about haptic dimension

In the gaming world, things tend to be focused on visual aspects. Take as an example, Virtual Reality (VR) and the investment in visual interferences that evoke immersive reactions. This aspect of feeling that the reality and the virtual is the same can be called as Telepresence. The telepresence is enhanced by media “richness”. However, most of the times, the “touch” or “tactical” sense can be overlooked. Let’s take the 5 senses as a guideline. In games, we have sound, images.. but we don’t have touch, smell and taste. I’m not sure if the technology is yet there to create a smell-tasteful experience in the game, but the touch, yes. And that goes beyond the vibration of the game console while playing the game.

While watching this video from Casual Connect about “Wearable Haptic Feedback” (by Ehren J. Brav), you can understand what I’m talking about.

As Ehren J. Brav shows in the video, the haptic experience is usually used for simulation, but it can also bring information for the player as feedback. And that’s the main point. This device showed in the video is more as a helmet because it can be used for VR experiences. In the game it can also bring another dimension to the player – even to solve challenges in the game. It sounds incredible!

The main point now is that haptic feedback gives another dimension for HCI. It’s not about visual aspects anymore. It’s a combination of senses. Imagine what that could bring for different types of gaming experiences!

Now, imagine haptic situations that you don’t have a wearable. Disney has been researching about 3D haptic experiences with different interfaces. It’s like touching a screen but it has haptic “waves” enhanced by algorithms and lots of different aspects.

The idea of haptic feedback was also explored by another project from Disney in order to improve storytelling, bringing together linguistic and touch. And yet again, no wearable, just a touch screen device, as tablets and mobile phones. This shows that it is possible to transform technology into haptic screen. Why not? Imagine reading an ebook and feeling everything that is in the book just from the touch?

It is time to think. What are the design theories that could be applied into haptic dimensions? How does it vary for each individual? Maybe haptic could be applied in health-related gaming, helping people to overcome diseases? It is possible that the area of health and technology could benefit from those aspects, particularly for people that need treatment. But, yet, it is necessary to understand the types of applications. In the area of education and for young learners, maybe haptic could bring more immersive experiences for students in order to improve their learning experience – why not?

It seems that the combination of gaming structures and immersive technologies for the 5 senses is the main area to be explored. However, we still have a lot to do! What do you think?


Kortum, P. (2008). HCI beyond the GUI: Design for haptic, speech, olfactory, and other nontraditional interfaces. Morgan Kaufmann.

Kim, S. C., Israr, A., & Poupyrev, I. (2013, October). Tactile rendering of 3D features on touch surfaces. In Proceedings of the 26th annual ACM symposium on User interface software and technology (pp. 531-538). ACM.

Israr, A., Zhao, S., Schwalje, K., Klatzky, R., & Lehman, J. (2014). Feel effects: enriching storytelling with haptic feedback. ACM Transactions on Applied Perception (TAP), 11(3), 11.

Arduino and prototypes – designing interactions [#isa2012]

A week ago we hosted in São Paulo a big event of interaction design. We had great people talking, like Massino Banzi, Martin Zabaleta, Olli Leino, Roger Pujol, Dan Saffer, Jonathan Hull and… Don Norman. Well, I decided to write a post about my impressions of the Interaction South America (#ISA 2012), but this post became so big that I decided to make it in parts. So this week you will have content to read every day. :)

Why prototype with Arduino?
Arduino is a small tool for computers to control the physical world, through open-source platforms. Massino Banzi opened the first day of the #ISA2012 talking about prototyping with Arduino and the possibilities to build interactive electronics projects.

Collaborative technology
In order to make Arduino we need a piece of hardware, software, process and communication. All the contribution of new tools (Arduino has some derivatives too) and new experiments goes to a ‘community’ that uses and shares everything. This is possible because Arduino works in an open-source platform. So, it shows that we are living a democratic place in technology, where you can share things and experiment the world. Exemples: GitHub that promotes collaborative coding and CERN OpenLab from LHC project.
So, things made with Arduino are a mashup of tools and elements and the documentation is creative common license. The only thing that is ‘protected’ is the brand.
Making collaborative things shows that we are transforming technology on our time. We are sharing knowledge and testing new things very fast. That’s why Arduino seems to be the right tool in the moment to build and improve new possibilities through prototype. We are now creating more interactions. Quick-and-dirty.

Internet of things
The planet, human and physical objects are connected and we can have access to all the data we are sharing through interaction. Devices are linked together using networks. Those networks can happen through internet.
So we can say that today we are living in the internet of things, which means that things (devices included) are connected together everywhere, through the cloud and related by data. Well, we are always transmitting data that can be transformed and storaged in the cloud. This cloud is not a place, but it is anywhere. We don’t see, but it’s here.
But let’s talk about things. So, things = things made with Arduino? That’s the key of what I’m talking here.
Arduino can help us to create things that talk to each other and use the data we transmit. Transforming data is transforming new forms of social relations and we can do this by our own hands.

3D printers and prototype
Prototyping is creating an early sample of a thing that we want to test in a specific context and get some feedback from it. Well, we have more examples of prototyping and transformation. The 3D printers are already a reality. You can imagine, create something in your computer as a prototype, print, test and see if it works. A new industrial revolution?

Creating possibilities
Experience can be promoted by a bunch of interactions. We can transform the virtual/fantasy into something real and tangible. Imagine the Clock in Harry Potter, for example, alive:

We can add another function to clothes:

Ruffletron – demo from lara grant on Vimeo.

And… Use Arduino in the Large Hadron Collider at CERN:

The possibilities seem to be huge in this scenario and everything is promoted by new ways of interaction. The role of the designer today is bigger than we can imagine.
Now the designer has the autonomy to create and prototype. It’s like a DIY technology, exploring the world through new materials. You can make whatever you want in single prototypes. Interaction appears everywhere.
That can help us to think out of the box. We need to image that things can happen out of our comfort zone, where plants can talk and tweet.

It’s a mixture of things, experiments, here and now. Break your paradigms!

One observation: I didn’t have the opportunity to create any Arduino prototype yet. Hope to build it soon and then I will post my experiences here. :)

Open-source your projects — and upload them to space: Massimo Banzi at TEDGlobal 2012
The Internet of Things: how it’ll revolutionise your devices
Medical and Health Related Projects with Arduino

photo credit: rometer via photopin (license)