Tactlets

Adding Tactile Feedback to 3D Objects Using Custom Printed Controls

Rapid prototyping of haptic output on 3D objects promises to enable a more widespread use of the tactile channel for ubiquitous, tangible, and wearable computing. Existing prototyping approaches, however, have limited tactile output capabilities, require advanced skills for design and fabrication, or are incompatible with curved object geometries. In this paper, we present a novel digital fabrication approach for printing custom, high-resolution controls for electro-tactile output with integrated touch sensing on interactive objects. It supports curved geometries of everyday objects. We contribute a design tool for modeling, testing, and refining tactile input and output at a high level of abstraction, based on parameterized electro-tactile controls. We further contribute an inventory of 10 parametric Tactlet controls that integrate sensing of user input with real-time electro-tactile feedback. We present two approaches for printing Tactlets on 3D objects, using conductive inkjet printing or FDM 3D printing. Empirical results from a psychophysical study and findings from two practical application cases confirm the functionality and practical feasibility of the Tactlets approach.

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