Simulating Affective Touch: Using a Vibrotactile Array to Generate Pleasant Stroking Sensations

  • Gijs Huisman
  • Aduén Darriba Frederiks
  • Jan B. F. van Erp
  • Dirk K. J. Heylen
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 9775)


Gentle stroking touches are rated most pleasant when applied at a velocity of between 1–10 cm/s. Such touches are considered highly relevant in social interactions. Here, we investigate whether stroking sensations generated by a vibrotactile array can produce similar pleasantness responses, with the ultimate goal of using this type of haptic display in technology mediated social touch. A study was conducted in which participants received vibrotactile stroking stimuli of different velocities and intensities, applied to their lower arm. Results showed that the stimuli were perceived as continuous stroking sensations in a straight line. Furthermore, pleasantness ratings for low intensity vibrotactile stroking followed an inverted U-curve, similar to that found in research into actual stroking touches. The implications of these findings are discussed.


Affective touch CT afferents Vibrotactile stimuli Mediated social touch 



This publication was supported by the Dutch national program COMMIT.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gijs Huisman
    • 1
  • Aduén Darriba Frederiks
    • 2
  • Jan B. F. van Erp
    • 1
    • 3
  • Dirk K. J. Heylen
    • 1
  1. 1.Human Media InteractionUniversity of TwenteEnschedeThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Digital Life CentreAmsterdam University of Applied SciencesAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Perceptual and Cognitive Systems, TNOSoesterbergThe Netherlands

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