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Touch Is Everywhere: Floor Surfaces as Ambient Haptic Interfaces
July-September 2009 (vol. 2 no. 3)
pp. 148-159
Yon Visell, McGill University, Montreal
Alvin Law, McGill University, Montreal
Jeremy R. Cooperstock, McGill University, Montreal
Floor surfaces are notable for the diverse roles that they play in our negotiation of everyday environments. Haptic communication via floor surfaces could enhance or enable many computer-supported activities that involve movement on foot. In this paper, we discuss potential applications of such interfaces in everyday environments and present a haptically augmented floor component through which several interaction methods are being evaluated. We describe two approaches to the design of structured vibrotactile signals for this device. The first is centered on a musical phrase metaphor, as employed in prior work on tactile display. The second is based upon the synthesis of rhythmic patterns of virtual physical impact transients. We report on an experiment in which participants were able to identify communication units that were constructed from these signals and displayed via a floor interface at well above chance levels. The results support the feasibility of tactile information display via such interfaces and provide further indications as to how to effectively design vibrotactile signals for them.

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Index Terms:
Vibrotactile interfaces, ubiquitous computing, haptic communication design, floor surfaces.
Yon Visell, Alvin Law, Jeremy R. Cooperstock, "Touch Is Everywhere: Floor Surfaces as Ambient Haptic Interfaces," IEEE Transactions on Haptics, vol. 2, no. 3, pp. 148-159, July-Sept. 2009, doi:10.1109/TOH.2009.31
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