Haptic Feedback Companion for Body Area Network Using Body-Carried Electrostatic Charge
Body Area Network approaches leveraging intra- or near-body communication offer exciting opportunities to utilize the human body as a signal transmission channel. Improvements in technical feasibility have encouraged research proposing mobile applications using data transferring touch interaction. In this work, we aim to provide haptic feedback for these applications to improve user experience. We propose a wearable haptic feedback device that uses electrostatic force to provide physical stimuli when a user touches objects that are electrically grounded, or of opposite polarity. Unlike previous approach, we neither physically actuate objects nor use any hand-worn haptic feedback devices. We introduce a mechanism to artificially build up electrostatic charge within the human body, and further leverage the effects of electrostatic discharge to create novel physical stimuli. In this paper, we report the underlying theory of operation as well as details of our prototype implementation. We use our prototype to explore the design space of interactions based on body-channeled physical stimuli, we illustrate our results using two applications: a) SandStorm: visualization of actuated force field using sand, and b) CheckMate: future vision of a touch-based transaction checkout system that provides haptic sensation for more reassuring feedbacks.