Towards Pleasant Touch: Vibrotactile Grids for Social Touch Interactions

Computer Human Interaction (CHI)

By: Ali Israr, Freddy Abnousi

Abstract

In this paper, we realize a wearable tactile device that delivers smooth pleasant strokes, those resemble of caressing and calming sensations, on the forearm. In Study 1, we develop a psychophysical model of continuous illusory motion on a discrete vibrotactile array. We use this model to generate a variety of tactile strokes that vary in frequency (quality), amplitude (strength) and duration (speed), and test them on a hedonic scale of pleasant-unpleasant in Study 2. Our results show that low frequency (<40 Hz) strokes at low amplitude (light touch) are felt pleasant, while high frequency strokes are unpleasant. High amplitude strokes are biased towards unpleasantness. Our results are useful for artificial means to enhance social presence among individuals in virtual and augmented settings.