Spring 2023

Harvard GSD SCI 6384 : Towards a New Science of Design?

Professor Martin Bechthold

Collaborator : Kevin Gao

# Material Perception
#Soft Robotics, Affective Device
#EDA #Somatosensory system
#Tacitile feedback


We developed a haptic elastomeric affective device for material perception research experiment. Particularly, we will explore a pneumatically actuated haptic wearable device composed of a soft silicone to provide a diverse spectrum of tactile stimuli by leveraging kinesthetic cues from force-feedback silicon actuators that push against the user’s body. After identifying multiple elastomer actuation behaviors and analysis of emotional response, we hope to conduct a study that could be potentially used for delivering the dynamic change in human emotions in remote/immersive environments i.e.AR/VR.


Participant went through total four rounds of experiment. each round included a survey and a different actuation behaviors. For exam- ple, bubble 1 was inflated for only 5s and bubble 2 was inflated for 10s, resulting in over inflation of Bubble 2. We also explored how the number of legs (specifically four legs and two legs) place on a participant arm changes the emotional responses.

Participants’ mean age was 25.3 years (ranging from 18 to 33 years old). Rating of each soft robotic devices was different. There was statistically significant variance in the ratings of each affective adjective. The perceived magnitude of affective responses using semantic adjectives changed as object compliance increases. There was a discrepancy between wetness of silicone. Some people said it’s definite- ly wet. Some said it’s dry. “The wetness increases as the soft robot inflates.” As a soft device over-inflates, some participants started to touch more actively touch the device. People enjoyed the Bubble soft robot more than grasping soft robot. Bubble was placed on their hands, which are more sensitive than arms. There was a big difference in tactile sensation between hands and arms.