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The Sense of Touch

It may sound like a paradox, but as touch screens become increasingly ubiquitous, we get more disconnected from the physical world. Our interactions with people and objects are becoming less tactile, leading to a sense of disengagement from reality. The rise of virtual universes and remote relationships has only exacerbated this trend, creating experiences that are immersive yet intangible, intense yet rarefied.

A new technology developed by Weart called TouchDIVER can change this. TouchDIVER enables tactile experiences to be remotely transferred and applied to virtual and augmented reality, offering an expanded dimension of touch. With TouchDIVER technology, users can experience touch in a whole new way, whether it’s feeling the texture of a virtual object, sensing the warmth of the image of a fire, or even feeling the sensation of a hug from a loved one who is far away.

Collaborating with e-Novia, students of the Product & Furniture Design Master’s programme have developed a series of design proposals for incorporating TouchDIVER in nine different products to explore new interpretations of the user experience in both the virtual and real worlds. The exhibition showcases these varied designs, from adding a tactile sensation to synthetic visualisations to incorporating distribution features through “augmented proxemics” in how we use objects, rethinking not only the possibilities of touch but also its meaning in our life.