Texture, Touch, and Meaning

Hunter Sebresos // hsebresos at inside.artcenter.edu // http://www.concepthunter.com/

Through a series of studies and prototypes, Texture, Touch, and Meaning looks at alternatives to a screen-saturated future by proposing the ways in which texture, dynamic materials, and the sense of touch could be used in new forms of communication.


What types of communication lie beyond our current era of screen dominance? Could the sense of touch ever become a viable alternative method of communication for the common person? How will communicating an idea become a different act when materials are dynamic?

An environment of Tactile Communication is one possibility for Designers and Engineers to consider when designing interactions. Tactile Communication encompasses haptics as well as systems for communicating messages through textures and the sense of touch.

Envisioning a future of Tactile Communication opens new possibilities for exploring how touch can be implemented in interaction design. It encourages seeking alternatives to the screen-saturated vision of the future——a future in which the physical expertise of the body is used to it's potential.

The Dermatext bracelets explore the use of mechanoreception (the sense of touch) as a medium for communication. Using a prototype and a few icon–based symbols, tests were performed as a method for observing the ability to comprehend simple messages through sequential vibrations on the wrist.

The Dermatext is functionally dependent on mind-mapping or the ability to create recallable meaning by experiencing the world through mind and body.1 This “muscle-memory” allows the user to see the sequence of vibrations spacially in the mind’s eye producing “characters.” As these characters are strung together, they form meaning.