Hands on Haptics: Exploring Non-Visual Visualisation Using the Sense of Touch
A CHI 2005 WORKSHOP
3-4th APRIL 2005
Haptic interfaces, such as force feedback and tactile devices, offer the opportunity to present dynamic "visualizations" in a non-visual manner to the sense of touch. Employing the sense of touch as a means of visualising dynamic information poses several challenges to the designer, not nominally encountered when using senses commonly used for presenting information (hearing and sight). Tactile sensing is of a very high resolution, but is localised to a small number of contact points between the skin and the external environment. A degree of active exploration on behalf of the user is often required to elicit information regarding an object's material or structural properties. However, the fact that the sense of touch is a "duplex channel" of information, capable of both interacting with and concurrently sensing the external environment, makes it unique amongst the five human senses. The traditional dichotomy drawn between "input" and "output" is often difficult to delineate in manipulation tasks such as moulding with clay, sewing using a needle, or removing the screw cap from a bottle. Such factors as these make the visualisation of data using haptics unique when compared to more traditional channels of communication such as audio or visual. The sense of touch is often also socially loaded, and associated with non-verbal communication and expression, which may have implications for its use in on-line multiplayer games or with telecommunications.
In keeping with the CHI 2005 conference theme of the relationship between technology and "community", one of the main focusses of the workshop will be on enabling access to on-line communities for visually impaired and blind computer users, for example, by providing access to on-line, real time data, perhaps as a result of a networked game, or an application which could potentially enhance their independence and quality of life, such as tactile maps from route-finding applications. The workshop will also look at how haptic feedback can be used to provide additional parameters for multimodal visualisation, in combination with audio and vision.
The development of increasingly lower cost force feedback devices have put haptic feedback within the scope of the individual user, or at least within the financial reach of small to medium sized institutions such as schools, colleges and small businesses. Hence there is an increased need to develop heuristics, guidelines and standards for their use. This workshop will bring together a small group of practitioners from industry and academia focused on establishing guidelines for the use of haptics in visualisation.
The first day of the workshop will emphasise the use of haptic demos provided by the attendees , as this is a vital aspect of the workshop that would not be possible during a paper session or with a larger gathering of attendees. These demos will be used to stimulate discussion and brainstorming within the group. On the second day of the workshop, participants will get "hands on" to rapidly create physical prototypes using everyday materials as a means of illustrating potential design solutions established by the group!
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Last Modified: December 9, 2005