By Jessica Dawson and Juliette Link.
Realized during the Sketching Haptics Workshop @ UBC during August 2011.
For our final assignment we were inspired by projects such as the Design Incubation Center’s Roly Poly (2010) and Noriyuki Fujimura’s Remote Furniture (1999), which explore haptic communication between people over distances. We were curious about how we might make such an interaction more intimate. HOT explores this idea by trying to communicate a feeling of human warmth – as if you’re holding hands - between two people over a large distance.
HOT consists of two mouse-shaped pods, which are intended to be placed in different locations. When someone approaches one of the pods, the pod in the other location will shake as a notification; if someone approaches that pod in response, then the first pod will also shake as a return notification. Similarly, if one person squeezes the pod, the other pod will heat up – and vice versa. A pod will stay warm as long as the other person is holding on.
Each pod contains a pressure sensor (placed under the thumb) to detect squeezing and an IR sensor to detect proximity to the device. Heat in the pods was generated using Peltier junctions. We used two Arduinos with motor shields to monitor the inputs and control the outputs in the system, one for each pod.
Challenges: To use the pressure sensors we had to learn how to build a simple pull-down circuit with a resistor. Another challenge we faced was that because of the short time of the workshop we were forced to connect the two systems using wires, and so we could only test the system with two people standing side by side. We had planned to include the Peltier junctions’ ability to get hot, cold and to fluctuate between the two. However, we did not have access to a heat sink that worked with the pods, so we stuck with just heating up the pods.