PneuSleeve: In-fabric Multimodal Actuation and Sensing in a Soft, Compact, and Expressive Haptic Sleeve

Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI)


Integration of soft haptic devices into garments can improve their usability and wearability for daily computing interactions. In this paper, we introduce PneuSleeve, a fabric-based, compact, and highly expressive forearm sleeve which can render a broad range of haptic stimuli including compression, skin stretch, and vibration. The haptic stimuli are generated by controlling pneumatic pressure inside embroidered stretchable tubes. The actuation configuration includes two compression actuators on the proximal and distal forearm, and four uniformly distributed linear actuators around and tangent to the forearm. Further, to ensure a suitable grip force, two soft mutual capacitance sensors are fabricated and integrated into the compression actuators, and a closed-loop force controller is implemented. We physically characterize the static and dynamic behavior of the actuators, as well as the performance of closed-loop control. We quantitatively evaluate the psychophysical characteristics of the six actuators in a set of user studies. Finally, we show the expressiveness of PneuSleeve by evaluating combined haptic stimuli using subjective assessments.

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