Hugging Suit: Pneumatically-Actuated System Design for Haptic Experiences


eingereicht von
Ruo-Xuan Wu

Prof. Eva Hornecker, Dr. Sabine Zierold, Dr. Luke Hespanhol

MediaArchitecture (Master of Science (M.Sc.))

Instructors: Mr. Hannes Waldschutz, Mr. Krisjanis Rijnieks, Models: Hannes Bodason, Wei-ru Tai, Teodora Farago, Balassa Adam, and 70+ users


The Covid-19 pandemic has changed human interactions dramatically and highlights the needs for remote haptic communication, such as touches, hugs, and pats, since hygiene requirements generally avoid physical contact. Hugging family and friends at home has become an extravagant wish for international students and staff, because of high travel costs and compulsory quarantines. My master's thesis aims at achieving remote and real-time haptic communication with Hug Sensor (Haptic Sensing) and Hugging Suit (Haptic Simulations) which can "feel, transfer, and give" hugs to users in different spaces.
In contrast to present pneumatic VR suits, the thesis proposes 1. Haptic pressure sensing, 2. Pixelated haptic simulations, 3. High-pressure air supply. Using Research through Design (RtD) processes, the research followed design, production, and evaluation, and provides the evolution from first to second prototypes, coupled with two user trials involving 71 participants, examining portability, wearability, and the fidelity of the hugging simulations. Moreover, the study found that low-lit, comfortable, private, and being able to see the hug giver are suitable environments so that the future designs of Hugging Suits can be identified accordingly. Finally, the potential applications of the Hugging Suit were revealed in the user study feedback, such as massages, “Hmoji,” “Hugging Passwords,” and memorizing deceased loved ones.

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