Haptic Technology Market to Develop as Researchers Create a Device that can Communicate Emotion through Human Touch with High Accuracy

  • Analysis
  • 05-January-2022

The omicron variant is likely to affect people's lifestyles drastically post-COVID. With the spread of new strain, most people have apprehensions about venturing out. In a recent study, researchers came up with a unique idea: they help people understand that they are not alone with the help of virtual reality.
In a new study, researchers wanted to see if two platonic or romantic friends could engage and express concern and emotion remotely. The device is an incredible innovation for the Haptic Technology Market as it demonstrates about 80% accuracy in detecting the emotions of humans by merely a touch.
An estimated 57 percent of the time, people discern a partner's actual intentions through in-person touch. Respondents determined the meaning of a touch 45 percent of the time while dealing with a technology that replicated human contact. As a result, the devices in this investigation appear to execute with 79 percent accuracy of felt human touch.
The team's sense of touch is extraordinary. There is a "touch language" among people. As a result, it is impossible to create virtual contact that people may aim towards their loved ones mainly because all humans have varying degrees of "touchiness" and comfort with a social touch. One can also express different emotions such as despair, love, or compassion. The researchers had to develop a way to include the various features of touch into a flexible algorithm.
Their research was split into two parts. First, a novel dataset was produced regarding people's interactions through social touch. This was obtained by documenting the contact position and pressure as participants transmitted various emotions to their partners through touch. The researchers used this dataset to construct a library of pre-recorded signals by classifying these gestures as indicating attention, gratitude, happiness, relaxing, grief, or love.
These signals were then converted into tactile pixels (taxels) that could be used to express emotion to the second group of subjects using a wearable haptic armband with eight contact points.
There were a total of 661 touch motions registered. Individuals wearing the wristband understood the desired emotion transmitted by remote touch about 45 percent of the time (compared to only 57 percent of the time of in-person touch). The research shows that social meaning and expression expressed through in-person contact can be transmitted over long distances.

The researchers' next step will be to tweak the algorithms to produce a more nuanced sense of virtual touch for better accuracy.
While the physical barrier created by the pandemic is narrowing, families and friends are still dispersed worldwide due to the increasingly global networks. Individuals would be able to reach out and touch their loved ones regardless of their physical distance, reducing isolation and bringing people closer together.
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