Non-verbal cues used during social interactions, such as facial expressions, are largely inaccessible to individuals who are blind. This work explores the use of affective haptics for communicating emotions displayed during social interactions. We introduce a novel haptic device, called the Haptic Face Display (HFD), consisting of a two-dimensional array of vibration motors capable of displaying rich spatiotemporal vibrotactile patterns presented through passive or active interaction styles. This work investigates users' emotional responses to vibrotactile patterns using a passive interaction style in which the display is embedded on the back of an ergonomic chair. Such a technology could enhance social interactions for individuals who are blind in which emotions of interaction partners, once recognized by a frontend system such as computer vision algorithms, are conveyed through the HFD. We present the results of an experiment exploring the relationship between vibrotactile pattern design and elicited emotional response. Results indicate that pattern shape, duration, among other dimensions, influence emotional response, which is an important consideration when designing technologies for affective haptics.


  • Affective haptics
  • assistive technology
  • emotions
  • interpersonal interaction
  • vibrotactile stimulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • General Computer Science


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