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The sense of touch has much importance in technology-mediated human emotion communication and interaction. Many researchers around the world are aiming to leverage the sense of touch in the communication medium between multi-user 3D virtual world and real environment. Driven by the motivation, we explored the possibilities of integrating haptic interactions with Linden Lab’s multi-user online virtual world, Second Life. We enhanced the open source Second Life viewer client in order to facilitate the communications of emotional feedbacks such as human touch, encouraging pat and comforting hug to the participating users through real-world haptic stimulation. These emotional feedbacks that are fundamental to physical and emotional development in turn can enhance the users interactive and immersive experiences with the virtual social communities in the Second Life. In this paper, we describe the development of a prototype that realizes the aforementioned virtual-real communication through a haptic-jacket system. Some of the potential applications of the proposed approach includes distant lover’s communication, remote child caring, and stress recovery.
Tactile feedback, interaction design, sense of touch, haptics, interpersonal communication, virtual world, Second Life

A. E. Saddik, A. S. Rahman and S. A. Hossain, "Bridging the Gap between Virtual and Real World by Bringing an Interpersonal Haptic Communication System in Second Life," 2010 IEEE International Symposium on Multimedia(ISM), Taichung, Taiwan, 2010, pp. 228-235.
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