An Online Survey on the Perception of Mediated Social Touch Interaction and Device Design

IEEE Transactions on Haptics (ToH)


Social touch is essential for our social interactions, communication, and well-being. It has been shown to reduce anxiety and loneliness; and is a key channel to transmit emotions for which words are not sufficient, such as love, sympathy, reassurance. However, direct physical contact is not always possible due to being remotely located, interacting in a virtual environment, or as a result of a health issue. Mediated social touch enables physical interactions, despite the distance, by transmitting the haptic cues that constitute social touch through devices. As this technology is fairly new, the users’ needs and their expectations on a device design and its features are unclear, as well as who would use this technology, and in which conditions. To better understand these aspects of mediated interaction, we conducted an online survey on 258 respondents located in the USA. Results give insights on the type of interactions and device features that the US population would like to use.

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