Communicating Through Touch


Editor’s note: DavidRose is the CEO at Ditto Labs, an MIT Media Lab researcher and the author of Enchanted Objects.

Three squeezes means “I love you”; two squeezes means “I’m scared.” These are examples of the special language my 11 year-old daughter and I share. We developed patterns to relay assurance, fear, surprise and “check out the crazy outfit in that direction.” It’s useful and fun to have a touch-based language, plus it’s fast, discreet and intimate.

Haptics, the science of touch, derives from the Greek haptikos meaning “being able to come into contact with.” Touch-based interfaces are one of the modalities we explore at the MIT Media Lab.

Prototyping haptic interfaces at MIT

At the Tangible Media Group at MIT, we explore new materials for human-computer interfaces. Some change shape and rigidity based on digital inputs. For example, a group of students just prototyped a car…

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