Springlets: Expressive, Flexible and Silent On-Skin Tactile Interfaces
The first haptic interfaces to generate force and stretch feedback on the body in a skin-conformable form factor.
Springlets use a single type of actuator, soft and silent shape memory alloy springs (SMAs), to create a wide range of sensations on the skin in a highly wearable and customizable form factor. They use the simple contraction-expansion actuation of SMAs to stretch the skin or move and transform haptic objects on the skin surface. As a result, in our paper, we show how to build Springlets that apply tensile, normal, and tangential forces on the skin, creating sensations such as stretch, press, pull, drag, and expand.
Springlets' soft and thin form factor allows them to be worn on soft and curved body locations, thanks to their silent operation, even near the head. Springlets can be cut into any shape or size, they can be combined in a single interface, and digitally controlled to generate spatial sensations of various force profiles. They may also contain haptic objects of different textures (fluffy or tacky) and shape changing properties.
Unlike vibrotactile output, Springlets provide smooth yet powerful and silent sensations that mimic the natural forces and movements of touch gestures on the skin. This allows for a range of novel applications for mediated social communication, accessible user interfaces, mindful and affective applications, and virtual reality experiences.
Received Best Paper Honourable Mention Award at CHI 2019.
|Paper and Demo (CHI 19)|
|Poster and Postcard|
|On RWTH website|
|Project folder [Internal Access]|
|Funding project: 3DCC|
|Contact: Nur Hamdan Adrian Wagner|
Build A Springlet
Build your own Springlet in 15 min. and under $6! Watch the instructional video.
Materials and tools
- Shape memory alloy springs: BMX (coils 02.–0.62mm datasheet), or Flexinol (coils 1.37–3.45mm datasheet)
- X-Treme Tape - Self-Fusing Silicone Rubber Tape
- Kinesio tape
- Pattex Superglue Ultra Gel
- Heat barrier (layering two pieces of Kinesio tape under the tactile layer provides sufficient heat protection)
- Tools: thin insulated wires, cord-end terminals, a crimper, a cutter, a ruler
- Nur Al-huda Hamdan, Adrian Wagner, Simon Voelker, Jürgen Steimle and Jan Borchers. Demonstration of Springlets: Expressive, Flexible and Silent On-Skin Tactile Interfaces. In Extended Abstracts of the 2019 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI EA '19, ACM, New York, NY, USA, May 2019.
- Nur Al-huda Hamdan, Adrian Wagner, Simon Voelker, Jürgen Steimle and Jan Borchers. Springlets: Expressive, Flexible and Silent On-Skin Tactile Interfaces. In Proceedings of the 2019 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI '19, ACM, New York, NY, USA, May 2019.
- Vyacheslav Kryvosheya. Haptic Stickers: Thin, Flexible On-Skin Haptic Devices. Master's Thesis, RWTH Aachen University, Aachen, February 2018.