Orit Zuckerman created back in 2005 the TapTap scarf, a wearable haptic system that allows nurturing human touch to be recorded, broadcast and played back for emotional therapy.
Unlike the Hug Shirt from CuteCircuit which transmits hugs send over cell-phone networks from far away, the TapTap concept records taps or hugs of your partner or someone close to you.
In times the person is not present you can replay the haptic, physical feelings of your close friend or loved ones to bridge the gap of physical separation.
Three kinds of touch can be played back: the pressure of a touch, the warmth of contact and the percussion of a friendly tap. Orit build demonstrations samples based on a scarf containing the actuators as well as the recording of the interaction.
I like the idea of ‘remote’ physical contact as I miss this dimension of interaction during our ever growing online participation or should I say: presents?
Millions and I are members of social networking sites like Facebook, Friendster and what have you. Almost every day we get ‘poked’, ‘super poked’, kissed and hugged from our online friends.
A hug on Facebook is just words on the screen which has very little warmth and feeling although I appreciate the well meaning intention of the sender.
How cool would it be to feel my Facebook hugs and pokes and all the other affections I get from my online community thousands of miles away?
If social networking is not your thing, how about video gaming like the Wii? Haptic feedback is an essential part of the Wii game concept with the controller elements slowly migrate into (gaming) clothing. The 3rd Space vest is an example how technology enhanced ‘Cyber clothing’ can give an additional experience dimension during interaction with the virtual, electronic world.
Concepts like the TapTap scarf might have looked a bit ‘out of place’ a few years ago but could be a valuable, experience enhancing option while interacting with the ubiquitous technology surrounding us.
Maybe it has a great value for you to record the appreciating shoulder Tap Tap of your boss as you might not get them as often as you would like. You can then always replay this tap after another lousy day in the office to cheer you up.