TouchTex: A smart glove sleeve system for the digital, gesture-controlled transmission of touch over distance

BMBF Funded Project TouchTex

Project Justification

The pandemic has given new meaning to digital contact tracing. Unlike facial expressions and voice information, touch has not been digitally detectable or transferable. One solution is the sensor-based integration of different types of touch using smart textiles. The partners in the TouchTex project are investigating how physical proximity can be experienced in real time by simulating touch, even over long distances. A combination of different smart textiles, e.g. integrated into gloves or cuffs, will be used to detect touch intentions and reproduce touches. The demonstrators developed will initially be used in a clinical context, especially for patients with special contact restrictions.
The TouchTex system includes innovative components that can deliver electrical impulses through pressure and, unlike existing solutions, are flexible, flat and conform to the surface. This makes it possible to transmit a wide range of specific types of touch. Future applications may include robotics and gaming.

Our Approach

Through exploratory experimentation with the TouchTex demonstrator, IXP will explore how naturalistic social touch can be achieved.

Work Packages, Insights and Outcomes

The main objective of IXP in the TouchTex project is to create a learning data corpus from existing and newly generated data for sensor-based touch applications. Therefore, IXP will conduct exploratory studies to investigate the feasibility of virtual touch through vibrotactile feedback and how interpersonal touches can be detected and transmitted through digital communication channels. The aim of these studies is to explore various methods for simulating reality-close tactile sensations.

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