Conveying language through haptics: A multi-sensory approach

Nathan Dunkelberger, Jenny Sullivan, Joshua Bradley, Nickolas P. Walling, Indu Manickam, Gautam Dasarathy, Ali Israr, Frances W.Y. Lau, Keith Klumb, Brian Knott, Freddy Abnousi, Richard Baraniuk, Marcia K. O’Malley

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

33 Scopus citations


In our daily lives, we rely heavily on our visual and auditory channels to receive information from others. In the case of impairment, or when large amounts of information are already transmitted visually or aurally, alternative methods of communication are needed. A haptic language offers the potential to provide information to a user when visual and auditory channels are unavailable. Previously created haptic languages include deconstructing acoustic signals into features and displaying them through a haptic device, and haptic adaptations of Braille or Morse code; however, these approaches are unintuitive, slow at presenting language, or require a large surface area. We propose using a multi-sensory haptic device called MISSIVE, which can be worn on the upper arm and is capable of producing brief cues, sufficient in quantity to encode the full English phoneme set. We evaluated our approach by teaching subjects a subset of 23 phonemes, and demonstrated an 86% accuracy in a 50 word identification task after 100 minutes of training.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationISWC 2018 - Proceedings of the 2018 ACM International Symposium on Wearable Computers
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9781450359672
StatePublished - Oct 8 2018
Externally publishedYes
Event22nd International Symposium on Wearable Computers, ISWC 2018 - Singapore, Singapore
Duration: Oct 8 2018Oct 12 2018

Publication series

NameProceedings - International Symposium on Wearable Computers, ISWC
ISSN (Print)1550-4816


Conference22nd International Symposium on Wearable Computers, ISWC 2018


  • Haptics
  • Multi-sensory
  • Speech.
  • Wearable

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computer Networks and Communications


Dive into the research topics of 'Conveying language through haptics: A multi-sensory approach'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this