ComTouch Angela Chang, Zahra Kanji, Dr. Sile O'Modhrain, Professor Robert Jacob, and Professor Hiroshi Ishii

The ComTouch project explores the interpersonal communication by use of haptic technology. Audio and video have been commonly used as a medium for interpersonal communication. ComTouch uses the sense of touch to compliment the existing audio and video medium. We expect that touch as a communication medium will allow for more personal communication, and perhaps even open up remote communication to deaf blind users. We hope to develop a haptic communication device that will enable users to transmit thoughts, feelings, and concepts to each other remotely. The basic concept is a handheld device that allows the squeeze under each finger to be represented as vibration. For communication, two devices will be set up to transmit and receive to each other. When transmitting, one device registers the analog force of pressure from each finger as the object is squeezed. This force is transmitted over a wireless connection. At the receiving end, the transmitted force is represented by vibrations under each finger. Through this research, we aim to describe more accurately the language of touch-based communication. We also hope to devise a set of guidelines for designing touch-based communication devices.