The InterACTIVE HAPTICS Conference (iAHC) is a place where participants immersed themselves into the world of touch-based technologies. Taking place in Hamburg from June 14 to 15, 2023, iAHC fostered discussions on integrating haptics; enabled networking with experts and promoted collaboration between industry and academia.
As part of Innovobot Labs’ participation, Daniel Shor, our Research Director for Europe, delivered a technical lecture and conducted a hands-on workshop at iAHC titled “Speaking Through Touch; Design Rules for Haptic Languages”.
In his lecture, he emphasized the challenge faced by designers in reducing content, context, and urgency into a simple set of pulses and vibrations. He discussed the evolution of notifications highlighting how incoming emails; which once announced their arrival in a brash shout, such as “You’ve Got Mail;” are now a subtle chime or buzz on our phones. He underlined the significant effort required to design effective vibrations for notifications within the limited bandwidth and frequency sensitivity of our skin.
To help participants engage with the challenge, Innovobot Labs ran a hands-on workshop showcasing to participants design thinking techniques and user research methodologies that enhance the effectiveness and uptake rate of vibrotactile notifications. The workshop involved working with cutting-edge actuators, user research tools, and prototyping equipment to tackle industry-relevant challenges related to smart surfaces and wearables.
Together, participants collaboratively developed new best practices to address haptic messaging challenges, with technical support from Innovobot Labs, and HapticLabs. One of the workshop’s captivating challenges focused on haptics for the game of chess, aiming to explore innovative approaches to designing a vibrotactile language that helped in either search haptics – scanning the board with a piece to find a “good” move – or in complex multi-level messages – communicating piece, then rank, then file instructions.
“It’s always great when the haptics community gets together. We meet, we try each others’ demos, and we challenge each other’s approaches. Interactive haptics has given me new ideas on how we can collaborate with new partners to help create haptic experiences that drive the industry forward.” – Dan Shor
His two key highlights from the conference:
The diversity of backgrounds among the participants left a strong impression. Attendees hailed from various fields such as industry, engineering, marketing, sales, psychology, mechatronics, and more. This diversity underscored the importance of collaboration and highlighted the need for alliances and partnerships to drive innovation. He emphasized the significance of open innovation, a core principle embraced by Innovobot. The company’s approach includes innovation partnerships, working with a team of world-class strategists and technologists, ensuring solution fit and market impact, co-creating intellectual property, and sharing IP across different sectors to generate additional revenue streams. These practices mitigate organizational risks while accelerating innovation.
Integration matters a lot, a significant challenge discussed during the conference. While many companies, inventors and engineers, are making major advances in their respective domains, they often struggle to create a cohesive context on their devices. Recognizing this challenge, Innovobot helps in overcoming integration obstacles.
Overall, the InterACTIVE HAPTICS Conference was a valuable platform for exploring touch-based technologies, fostering collaboration, and sharing insights in the field of haptics. The event offered attendees the opportunity to gain practical knowledge, connect with industry experts, and contribute to the advancement of haptic technologies.
For those interested in discovering how design thinking techniques and user research can enhance the effectiveness of vibrotactile notifications, Innovobot Labs offers tailored workshops that can be hosted at participants’ offices (Europe), providing necessary equipment and customization according to specific needs.