What is SocialTouch

Understanding, modeling and evaluating social touch in human-machine interaction  

This project is at the crossroad of Human-Machine Interaction (HMI) and Emotional Design. It investigates how the sense of touch can be integrated in interactive systems to leverage communicative and emotional channels between humans and machines or between humans via machines. It focuses  on a communicative modality that has been much less studied than other communication channels, namely touch, and addresses innovative topics such as the role of social touch to foster engagement or to provide intimate experience. It investigates how touch can serve to enhance human interaction with small devices, embodied conversational agents (ECAs) and Virtual Reality environments and for interpersonal mediated communication. The project aims:

  •  To understand the principles and functions of touch as an emotional way to communicate and to predict its impact on human-machine engagement;
  • To design novel human-machine interaction techniques to improve user   experience;
  • To evaluate the efficiency and the acceptability of social touch in two different contexts: a) interpersonal mediated communication and b) human communication with embodied conversational agent, which will allow us to compare these situations and possible differences whether agents are human or