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Title: Understanding the Effect of Speed on Human Emotion Perception in Mediated Social Touch Using Voice Coil Actuators
Touch as a modality in social communication has been getting more attention with recent developments in wearable technology and an increase in awareness of how limited physical contact can lead to touch starvation and feelings of depression. Although several mediated touch methods have been developed for conveying emotional support, the transfer of emotion through mediated touch has not been widely studied. This work addresses this need by exploring emotional communication through a novel wearable haptic system. The system records physical touch patterns through an array of force sensors, processes the recordings using novel gesture-based algorithms to create actuator control signals, and generates mediated social touch through an array of voice coil actuators. We conducted a human subject study ( N = 20) to understand the perception and emotional components of this mediated social touch for common social touch gestures, including poking, patting, massaging, squeezing, and stroking. Our results show that the speed of the virtual gesture significantly alters the participants' ratings of valence, arousal, realism, and comfort of these gestures with increased speed producing negative emotions and decreased realism. The findings from the study will allow us to better recognize generic patterns from human mediated touch perception and determine how mediated social touch can be used to convey emotion. Our system design, signal processing methods, and results can provide guidance in future mediated social touch design.  more » « less
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Frontiers in Computer Science
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National Science Foundation
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