Physical touch is a fundamental element of human communication and several benefits and positive effects were reported at the communication. In addition to the development of several Social Networking Services (SNS), communication between people was also rediscovered in the sense of direct contact between people.
Nevertheless, only few devices that support direct communication between people were developed. These device will support direct communication between people by inducing touching with appropriate feedbacks. We have been investigating ”Social Playware” which aims at flexible sensing and encouraging interaction among people by using devices in order to provide social interaction. In this study, we propose a novel wearable device for sensing physical contact among people. The device is realized to detect and record the touches of users by simply wearing the device on their wrists. Also, the device is designed to motivate touching among users by lighting LEDs or by playing interactive social games. We believe that the proposed device can be practically used not only in the entertainment domain but also in building and rehabilitating of social behavior of children.
To detect touching between people communication through human body is used in our proposed method. We use the communication technology based on personal area network, which was often used for communication between humans and objects but it has not yet been utilized for sensing physical contact among people. An analog switch is used in order to share the conductor (human body) and the electrodes among transmitting and receiving procedures.
Each of the devices has a unique color, the three primary colors (Red, green, blue) for instance. When users wear the devices and touch each other by their hands, the devices light up LEDs each with its unique color. The colors are then blended gradually as long as the touching lasts. In other words, the degree of color mixing expresses the duration of the touching time, and finally, the LED colors in the two devices in touch become united. This manner of lighting allows our proposed method to measure the duration of physical contact along with the device’s ability to identify other devices.
The device will be able to record and show the physical contact log among people, such as the number of shake-hands and/or amount of touching time over a long term. These logs show the degree of friendship or relationship among people. For example, it can be shown as a correlation diagram among users by exporting the data to another device with display such as a smart phone. A correlation diagram is shown in Figure 5. Where the circles indicate users, and the lines show the relationship among these users as the line’s width indicates the degree of friendship between two users. Such application will provide a new measuring method of relationship in an easily understandable way.
This work is partly supported by JST PRESTO program.
This work is partly done in collaboration with Denmark Technological University (DTU), Denmark.
A wearable device for sensing and recording human touching
Color blending: Lighting style will be changed according to touching
Social contact network: The time length of touching is given at the tablet device