Connecting loved ones through sound, light and touch
Changing lifestyles result in us spending more time apart from the ones we love than ever before. Communication improves our general wellbeing; however, smart phone and computer screens put a visual barrier between people.
Dr Victoria Bates in the Department of History and Dr Kirsten Cater in the Department of Computer Science, worked with design company Kinneir Dufort to explore how future technologies will truly enhance our connected experiences and evoke feeling that is missing from a smart phone. Funded through the REACT Hub the team of experts asked how the Internet of Things could help with our wellbeing by taking communication away from ‘screen’ and onto the ‘object’.
The collaborative research project led to the development of a new form of connected communication, 'InTouch', a playful object that uses multi-sensory technologies to link speaker and listener through sound, light and touch. Using haptic technology, the InTouch explores new ways to allow us all to reach out and touch those we are communicating with long-distance. InTouch have created paired, soft-skinned, tactile devices that use linear resonant actuators to allow the users to have real, tactile experiences.
Initially aimed to enable families separated by long distance to engage through storytelling at bedtime, the funded collaborative research has enabled explorations to a bigger question: what is ‘real’ connection and, more importantly, how can we get back to what we all need - to feel next to those people that we love?