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Haptic Everyday

2021 Design Platform, NUS DID

Touch is essential to our interactions with the world around us. By extension, haptics (def: concerning the sense of touch) should be an important consideration for the design of physical interactive products, devices, and systems.

In the current design and technological paradigm, haptics is often a by-product of the components selected rather than an actively considered design feature. A paradigm that (arguably) places an emphasis on visual appearance in our vision dominant culture.

In this platform, haptics as a design consideration takes center stage.

Design students explored materials through the lens of haptics. From this exploration, they defined new material systems for haptics and systematically characterized the haptic behavior of these systems. They then designed and built real world applications on top of the new haptic systems they developed.

Student Projects

Creamy Clicks
Celeste Loh, Mok Zijie, Prasanth Kumaar Kunasilan

Creamy Clicks is a haptic exploration of soft membranes integrated with sharp clicks.

Aiming to enhance the physical touch feedback of a device, Creamy Clicks uses neodymium magnets embedded in silicone membranes. The neodymium magnets provide a familiar clicking force, while the silicone membrane gives the system a satisfying tension. This material system offers new techniques of creating robust yet adaptable devices. The flexibility of silicone embedded with sensors to attracting magnets allows us to create wireless controllers. Silicone’s light diffusing quality also gives us the opportunity to create customizable strip lights and wireless lights, adding haptic feedback to a simple press or squeeze.

Creamy Clicks also introduces the potential of enhancing the user experience of prosthetics that are already made using silicone, by embedding this haptic feedback system into the equipment to run alongside more advanced functions.

Happily Haptic Lab
Ye Jiajie, Isaac Lim, Low Kai Yi

On a daily basis, we feel the world around us through touch, but we often take everyday haptics for granted. Current haptic systems such as buttons and switches usually consist of multiple materials and complex intricate parts.

Happily Haptic Lab is an exploratory research project, focused on replicating and creating new haptic experiences. We sought to replicate common haptic actions and create new ones using a standardized set of materials, consisting of 3D printed parts, magnets and hall effect sensors that allowed us to translate motion into a digital response. With a vision of modular controls and customizable haptics, we constrained ourselves to develop each haptic system within a 3D printed cylinder 30mm in diameter, where magnets could be strategically embedded and swapped in order to vary actuation strength. These modules would then be housed in chassis of various form factors, allowing for endless configurability and use cases.

Haptic House
Shanel Han, Alexandra Arguelles, Joseph Liew

The Haptic House series explores how destructive haptics, such as popping bubble wrap and tearing perforated packaging, can be made repeatable. A variety of interactions are cut and assembled from a single polyester sheet, creating haptics that are flat-packed and inexpensive.

A pencil-shaped edge profile was chosen for a satisfying tearing sensation, while bistable mechanisms were developed to mimic buttons and switches. By transferring the excitement from single-use packaging, mundane interactions are elevated into compelling experiences.

Tay Ying Qi, Vivien Tan, Ng Keng Wei

Tactylar is an exploration of parametrically designed kirigami switches that transform two-dimensional sheet materials to three-dimensional haptic buttons. Parametrically designed patterns are laser cut on polyester sheets, then folded to form tactile buttons that offer a variety of haptic possibilities. With different curve profiles, discernible changes in the visual, auditory and tactile feedback can be achieved.

By exploring different variations in size, layered switches, and changing the direction of folds amongst others, the same cut can produce an entirely different type of feeling.

These switches could be applied to flat screens as a tool that bridges the visual and physical by mapping two-dimensional interactions to three-dimensional haptic responses. The thinness and translucency of the polyester sheet allows on-screen graphics to shine through, tangibilizing the relationship between what is seen and what is felt.

Tic Tac Whoa
Yap Zining, Loh Chor Boon, Srikesh S/O Sundaresan

Tic Tac Woah is a collection of everyday objects infused with rotation driven haptics to evoke joy. The mechanism, made of acrylic and delrin material, is housed in 3D printed parts. This mechanism is then encompassed in three distinct objects: a pencil sharpener, a ruler, and a hoodie. Haptics is created through two key components: a profile and a striker. The profile is a surface that can be altered into various patterns while the striker is a member that hits against the profile. The interaction between these components then creates haptic feedback, which includes vibration and auditory feedback.

Lin Tsai Wei, Luke Goh, Wina Nashita Rakana Adisetya

TukTuk is a set of mechanisms that has varying haptics contained in one device. The mechanisms are powered by magnets interacting with one another, housed in 3D printed and acrylic casings. The haptic feedback can be adjusted by varying distances between magnets, surface textures and surface profiles. This way different functions could be differentiated through different haptics, giving assurance & the flexibility of customisation for the users. TukTuk would be useful in different scenarios that benefit from customizing the haptics of a device, such as having a macro and micro-adjustment knob for video editing, or an all-in-one smart home control.

Copyright 2024 Clement Zheng