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Haptic feedback has been a long standing promise for the interactive channel between humans and computers. It allows to leverage other faculties such as proprioception instead of using the visual sense, which is often overloaded with traditional UIs. Haptic feedback opens more channels of perception. It provides a direct way to interface with the user’s body, which increases the realism of interaction – as happens with force-feedback, tactile stimuli and galvanic vestibular stimulation.
However, most haptic technologies have been away from the current trend in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI): mobility. Therefore they are bound for lab and special case such as surgical systems. This happened because most haptic resist miniaturization, because they require physical motors, mechanics and consume hutch amount of electricity. Regard to that the costs and form factor are not suitably for mobile usage in everyday life.
Researchers have proposed miniaturizing and simplify haptic devices by using electrical-muscle stimulation as to actuate the muscles directly, rather than actuating through mechanics and hutch apertures. Although the technique was first explored in the 60’s and 70’s, it has huge implications for HCI as it allows for mobile haptic devices capable of driving realistic forces, such as Muscle-Propelled Force Feedback, which fits the back of a mobile phone. Furthermore, researchers showed how to shrink down a eyes-free I/O haptic device to the size of a wearable bracelet, as demonstrated by Pose-IO.
Moreover, this technique has been shown to work not just for force-feedback but also to haptic-guidance situations and for more realistic interaction in with virtual objects, such as PosessedHand which aids in learning a new instrument, feeling virtual objects and navigation support. For more realistic interaction with game objects Pfeiffer et al. used electrical-muscle stimulation in games for public displays. Hence, different objects properties (soft, hard) were simulated for interaction with different gestures (touch, grasp, punch) with a wearable system.
In this tutorial we present electrical-muscle stimulation in a hands-on experience. We provide a wearable bracelet ready-to-use and medically compliant kit (a), which allows quick Wizard-of-Oz prototyping, that combine the benefits of haptics with mobility. We provide mobile app to control easily the wearable bracelet remotely.
In this tutorial we bring novice and experts together. We expect that the synergies between different researchers will generate new interesting applications and ground-breaking ideas around electrical muscle stimulation in HCI. The one-days tutorial will provide a space for developing prototypes and showcasing them at the interactivity session in order to expose the work to the Haptics community.