AHO Logo

Virtual Touch


About the project

The central focus of this PhD thesis “Virtual Touch” is the use and experience of touch in multimodal and computer-based environments. It presents how it feels to touch and be touched in such environments.

Main aims: The thesis gives an overview of the role of vibrotactile stimulation and corporeal interaction in interaction design, showing how touch can be used to construct meaningful experiences.

Analytical frames: Touch is investigated through a phenomenological approach on how the world of our experience is constituted for us. A phenomenology of touch allows us to understand the interplay between subjective, felt embodiment and psychophysically contextualized touch designs.

Research Methods:  Touch is approached through practice based research. Functional prototypes of bodysuits that both touch and react to touch are iteratively constructed and evaluated. Specifically the thesis investigates how bodysuits can function as a two-way tactile display, conveying vibrotactile feedback to the body and interfacing the human to the computer through touch.

Outcomes: A central contribution of the thesis is the explanation of how touch can be content in itself and form so called haptic storytelling. New in this thesis and approach are the combinations of the various theories on and about touch, but in particular the application of this to interaction designs where touch appears as a genuine medium. This contributes to the definition of new practices of inquiry and knowledge making.

Publications: AHO PhD thesis # 44

Partners: Norwegian Council for Cultural Affairs, Telenor R&D

Duration: 2001 – 2010

Finance: Norwegian Council for Cultural Affairs, Telenor R&D