TactJam is an end-to-end suite for creating and sharing low fidelity prototypes of on-body vibrotactile feedback. It enables designers to create, record and share vibrotactile patterns online. This opens up new ways of collaboratively designing vibrotactile patterns both in collocated as well as in remote settings.
We evaluated TactJam in a two-part distributed online workshop, exploring the design of on-body tactons. Participants were able to successfully use TactJam to learn about tacton design. Conducting both parts of the workshop separately highlighted the importance of designing directly with bodies: less implicit assumptions were made, and designs were guided by personal experience. All the tools we developed for this project are open-source and available online at https://github.com/TactileVision.
HapticsDesign ToolEmbodied InteractionOpen Source
An End-to-End Suite TactJam is an open source suite of software and hardware tools for designing, storing, sharing, and testing on-body vibrotactile feedback patterns. It supports placing up to eight actuators on a body as shown on the left of the figure above. Designers can then jam by controlling each actuator in real time using button-presses on dedicated control hardware. These patterns can be recorded on the device and then uploaded to a cloud based sharing application. The device is further able to download previously shared designs, enabling the playback of tactile patterns designed by others. TactJam enables prototyping, recording, and sharing tactile icons within the same environment. It supports in-situ exploration of haptic experiences and allows design outcomes to feed back into design processes. This particularly suits haptic design as we often lack a language which fully captures the richness of tactile experience. It also supports the design of on-body haptics, as designers are faced with a plethora of bodily shapes and sizes, which interact with how a given tactile design is experienced. Fast sharing mechanisms enable designers to explore a range of multiple designs rapidly.
TactJam supports these three main activities: (1) Sketching, which is done by attaching actuators on the body and jamming with them, by playing vibrotactile patterns live for experimenting with experiences. (2) Recording vibrotactile patterns, and providing vibrotactile playback to support reflecting on a captured idea. (3) Documenting the vibrotactile patterns and sharing with others, for collecting feedback and for remote collaboration.
Remote Workshops on Vibrotactile Feedback Design
We put TactJam to a practical test through a two-part remote workshop on vibrotactile feedback design. The first workshop was conducted without the TactJam hardware. Tactile icons were designed using only the TactJam GUI. In the second workshop, the same groups came together to implement the designs from the previous workshop using the TactJam hardware.
Design differences are highlighted on the two figures: designing without and with bodily experiences induce different design approaches. Workshop results highlighted that TactJam supported remote collaborative haptic design. The workshops formed a type of natural experiment, which compared designing vibrotactile patterns using a GUI vs directly prototyping on bodies. This highlighted how using a GUI compared to designing directly on bodies leads to very different design results, but also very different ways of talking about and reflecting on these designs.
TactJam: An End-to-End Prototyping Suite for Collaborative Design of On-Body Vibrotactile Feedback Dennis Wittchen, Katta Spiel, Bruno Fruchard, Donald Degraen, Oliver Schneider, Georg Freitag, Paul Strohmeier TEI'22: Sixteenth International Conference on Tangible, Embedded, and Embodied Interaction (to appear)