Creating a Social Connection with Haptics at HCII 2017

Creating a Social Connection with Haptics at HCII 2017

This year I was invited back to the Human Computer Interaction International conference in Vancouver, BC to present in the Virtual, Augmented and Mixed Reality track. I presented a prototype I worked on with my team at Immersion Corporation called Remote Touch.

Mobile technologies such as handsets and wearables with cloud-connected apps connect people on an unprecedented scale. Chat environments, social networks, and real-time location tracking let people communicate an ever-increasing volume of status updates and messages. But, for all their benefits, current paradigms of digital communication lack the intuitive, natural feel of in-person interaction. The absence of many social cues we use to communicate face to face, including verbal tone, environmental context, body language, and touch, are missing. This is where Remote Touch incorporates advanced vibrotactile feedback in a common social interaction, with the goal of enabling more natural interpersonal communication by addressing some of these shortcomings. Remote Touch creates the illusion of being touched and “pulled” by another person in your network. Multimodal design, haptic feedback, visual feedback, and gesture input are combined to create a compelling illusion of remote embodied presence through a mobile device. It is designed to use a user’s location, latitude and longitude, to provide a compass to the other user. The core mechanic of the application is a tugging gesture on the user’s interface that notifies the recipient of a gesture to get their attention, let them know they’re being thought of, or other social purpose.

I hope to return next year with another prototype. We’ve worked hard in our session to bring fun and playful content the past two years to a typically low-level academic conference. Reflecting on this year’s session, I’d like to work harder to bring a more robust project and demo with some user research to provide more interesting information. Overall I’m happy with my presentation and I received a lot of positive feedback.

Take a look at what I presented here:

[embeddoc url=”” download=”all” viewer=”google”]


Mandeville, A., Birnbaum, D., Sampanes, C. (2017, July). Remote Touch: Humanizing
Social Interactions in Technology through Multimodal Interfaces. HCI International,
Vancouver, British Columbia.

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