, Volume 9, Issue 2-3, pp 149-159
Date: 10 Dec 2005

Mediated social touch: a review of current research and future directions

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In this paper, we review research and applications in the area of mediated or remote social touch. Whereas current communication media rely predominately on vision and hearing, mediated social touch allows people to touch each other over a distance by means of haptic feedback technology. Overall, the reviewed applications have interesting potential, such as the communication of simple ideas (e.g., through Hapticons), establishing a feeling of connectedness between distant lovers, or the recovery from stress. However, the beneficial effects of mediated social touch are usually only assumed and have not yet been submitted to empirical scrutiny. Based on social psychological literature on touch, communication, and the effects of media, we assess the current research and design efforts and propose future directions for the field of mediated social touch.

This research was supported by the JF Schouten School for User-System Interaction Research at Eindhoven University of Technology, Eindhoven, The Netherlands