Yohanan, S., MacLean, K. E. (2009). "A Tool to Study Affect Touch: Goals & Design of the Haptic Creature." In Proceedings of Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI '09), Works in Progress, Boston, Massachusetts, USA, pages 4153-4158, April 2009.
Touch is an important part of many forms of emotional communication, but has been studied far less than visual and auditory expressions of affect. We are developing the Haptic Creature to investigate fundamentals of affective touch, and its applications in companionship and anxiety management. This small robot senses the world solely by being touched, and communicates its internal state via vibrotactile purring, stiffening its ears, and modulating its breathing. This paper outlines the motivation for its creation and design, and overviews the current version of its architecture and mechatronics.