Fluidic Haptic Wearable Devices

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Our sense of touch offers a useful mode of communication through haptics that can augment the often-crowded visual and auditory pathways, but haptic devices have yet to be fully integrated into garments and other soft wearables in a way that maintains the compliance and comfort of everyday clothing, resulting in a barrier to widespread adoption.

In collbarotation with the Rice Preston Innovation (PI) Lab, we introduce a haptic device—a squeeze band—made entirely from textiles. This textile-based device is actuated by pressurized air, and its force-pressure response can be tailored in a controllable manner by altering the geometry of internal inflatable regions within the device during a rapid and inexpensive process of fabrication. We describe this fabrication and characterize six different squeeze bands that exemplify the highly tunable nature of our textile-based approach to wearable haptic devices.