Designing haptic signals to enrich technology interactions requires a clear understanding of the task, the user and the intricate affordances of touch. This is especially true when the haptics are not implemented as direct renderings of real world forces and textures, but as new interactions designed to convey meaning in new physical ways and support communication. The overall goal of our group's research is to provide the foundations for haptic interactions that are simple, usable and intuitive and that fit within the context of the user's life. In this paper, we describe three avenues through which our group is exploring and building a haptic language that will effectively support communication: signaling and monitoring, expressive communication and shared control. We use scenarios to illustrate where this approach could take us, and emphasize the importance of process and appropriate tools and representations.
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