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Sketch of the smart garment
Pauline van Dongen

Body Wonders

Exploring the potential of haptic feedback in smart clothing

All week at Natlab | Strijp-S By Holst Centre and Baltan Studio

Body Wonders is a designed (touch) experience to let people feel the potential of haptic feedback in smart clothing.
What kind of messages, feelings, emotions can we evoke through touch? What is the potential of this unexplored sensorial dimension? What if we could feel information on our skin?

We are overwhelmed by information, our screen time in this pandemic time increased a lot as well as all the mediated communication with our colleagues, family and friends, due to social distancing. A communication that is mainly visual, a sense that nowadays is overstimulated compared to the other ones. In the meantime, we are not touching each other anymore, the 1.5 m society impacted our social rituals, intimacy and relation with the physical world. We are underusing our touch both to grasp our surroundings and to communicate with each other. The aim of this project is to explore touch as a channel and new language, the skin as a new interface in a future screen less society.

The experience is possible through a smart garment containing 14 haptic motors positioned all over the trunk and arms to create a variety of vibrotactile patterns, used as a canvas for 4 different test phases. Through these phases, a couple of participants (one operator and one receiver) will explore how to communicate simple instruction through touch over distance, how to interpret stimuli and react to them but also to get to know the medium, to learn its language and acquire a new tactile awareness.

Partners

Holst Centre and Baltan Studio

Holst Centre (an independent open-innovation Research and Development centre for Wireless Autonomous Sensors and Flexible Electronics) is successful in the field of Smart Clothing. Our experience in developing printed electronics shows that a lot is possible technically, however the challenge lies in knowing how we can truly support people with smart garments.

The project is initiated by Holst Centre in collaboration with Baltan Studio (the internal design studio of Baltan Laboratories).