Direct Tactile Coupling of Mobile Phones with the feelabuzz System

  • René Tünnermann
  • Christian Leichsenring
  • Thomas Hermann
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 8045)


Touch can convey emotions on a very direct level. We propose feelabuzz, a system implementing a remote touch connection using standard mobile phone hardware. Accelerometer data is mapped to vibration strength on two smartphones connected via the Internet. This is done using direct mapping techniques, without any abstraction of the acceleration signal. By this, feelabuzz can be used for implicit context communication, i.e. the background monitoring of the natural movements of the users themselves or their environments, as well as for direct communication, i.e. voluntary and symbolic signalling through this new channel.

We describe the system and its implementation, discuss its possible implications and verify the system’s ability to recognizably transmit different actions in a preliminary user study.


mobile devices wearable computing haptic display tactile feedback mediated communication 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Bickerton, D.: Roots of Language. Karoma (1981)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Brewster, S., Brown, L.M.: Tactons: Structured tactile messages for non-visual information display. In: AUIC 2004: Proceedings of the Fifth Conference on Australasian User Interface, pp. 15–23. Australian Computer Society, Inc., Darlinghurst (2004)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Chang, A., O’Modhrain, S., Jacob, R., Gunther, E., Ishii, H.: Comtouch: Design of a vibrotactile communication device. In: DIS 2002: Proceedings of the 4th Conference on Designing Interactive Systems, pp. 312–320. ACM, New York (2002)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Deepa, M.: vsmileys: Imaging emotions through vibration patterns (2005)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Eichhorn, E., Wettach, R., Hornecker, E.: A stroking device for spatially separated couples. In: MobileHCI 2008: Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction with Mobile Devices and Services, pp. 303–306. ACM, New York (2008)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Enriquez, M.J., MacLean, K.E.: The hapticon editor: A tool in support of haptic communication research. In: International Symposium on Haptic Interfaces for Virtual Environment and Teleoperator Systems, p. 356 (2003)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Galantucci, B.: An experimental study of the emergence of human communication systems. Cognitive Science: A Multidisciplinary Journal 29(5), 737–767 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Goldin-Meadow, S., Mylander, C.: Spontaneous sign systems created by deaf children in two cultures. Nature 391(6664), 279–280 (1998)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Healey, P., Swoboda, N., Umata, I., King, J.: Graphical language games: Interactional constraints on representational form. Cognitive Science: A Multidisciplinary Journal 31(2), 285–309 (2007)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Heikkinen, J., Olsson, T., Väänänen-Vainio-Mattila, K.: Expectations for user experience in haptic communication with mobile devices. In: MobileHCI 2009: Proceedings of the 11th International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction with Mobile Devices and Services, pp. 1–10. ACM, New York (2009)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Kegl, J.: The nicaraguan sign language project: An overview. Signpost 7(1), 24–31 (1994)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Leichsenring, C., Tünnermann, R., Hermann, T.: feelabuzz – direct tactile communication with mobile phones. International Journal of Mobile Human Computer Interaction 3(1) (2011)Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Lewis, J.: Ibm computer usability satisfaction questionnaires: Psychometric evaluation and instructions for use. International Journal of Human-Computer Interaction 7(1), 57–78 (1995)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Murray-Smith, R., Ramsay, A., Garrod, S., Jackson, M., Musizza, B.: Gait alignment in mobile phone conversations. In: MobileHCI 2007: Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction with Mobile Devices and Services, pp. 214–221. ACM, New York (2007)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    O’Brien, S., Mueller, F.F.: Holding hands over a distance: Technology probes in an intimate, mobile context. In: OZCHI 2006: Proceedings of the 18th Australia Conference on Computer-Human Interaction, pp. 293–296. ACM, New York (2006)Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Rovers, A., van Essen, H.: Him: A framework for haptic instant messaging. In: CHI 2004 Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems, pp. 1313–1316. ACM, New York (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Senghas, A., Kita, S., Ozyurek, A.: Children creating core properties of language: Evidence from an emerging sign language in nicaragua. Science 305(5691), 1779 (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Vetere, F., Gibbs, M.R., Kjeldskov, J., Howard, S., Mueller, F.F., Pedell, S., Mecoles, K., Bunyan, M.: Mediating intimacy: Designing technologies to support strong-tie relationships. In: CHI 2005: Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, pp. 471–480. ACM, New York (2005)Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Wright, M., Freed, A.: Open Sound Control: A new protocol for communicating with sound synthesizers (1997)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • René Tünnermann
    • 1
  • Christian Leichsenring
    • 1
  • Thomas Hermann
    • 1
  1. 1.CITECBielefeld UniversityBielefeldGermany

Personalised recommendations