Springlets: Expressive, Flexible and Silent On-Skin TactileInterfaces

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Nur Al-huda Hamdan, Adrian Wagner, Simon Voelker, Jürgen Steimle, Jan Borchers
To appear in Proceedings of CHI'19 ACM

We introduce Springlets, expressive, non-vibrating mechanotactile interfaces on the skin. Embedded with shape memory alloy springs, we implement Springlets as thin and flexible stickers to be worn on various body locations, thanks to their silent operation even on the neck and head. We present a technically simple and rapid technique for fabricating a wide range of Springlet interfaces and computer-generated tactile patterns. We developed Springlets for six tactile primitives: pinching, directional stretching, pressing, pulling, dragging, and expanding. A study placing Springlets on the arm and near the head demonstrates Springlets’ effectiveness and wearability in both stationary and mobile situations. We explore new interactive experiences in tactile social communication, physical guidance, health interfaces, navigation, and virtual reality gaming, enabled by Springlets’ unique and scalable form factor.

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