Design of a Communication Device

We describe the design of ComTouch, a device that augments remote voice communication with touch, by converting hand pressure into vibrational intensity between users in real-time. The goal of this work is to enrich interpersonal communication by complementing voice with a tactile channel. We present preliminary user studies performed on 24 people to observe possible uses of the tactile channel when used in conjunction with audio. By recording and examining both audio and tactile data, we found strong relationships between the two communication channels. Our studies show that users developed an encoding system similar to that of Morse code, as well as three original uses: emphasis, mimicry, and turn-taking. We demonstrate the potential of the tactile channel to enhance the existing voice communication channel

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