Spectra is Australia’s leading arts/science conference. Organised by the Australian Network for Art and Technology, in conjunction with Experimenta, SymbioticA, and the University of South Australia, Spectra 2018 saw four days of inspiring talks, exhibitions and performances from researchers and artists working in collaboration. These collaborations aim to be a true dialogue between disciplines, where differing perspectives and epistemologies can operate in productive tension to develop new insights.
SensiLab’s Toby Gifford presented a prototype of a current research project, the Haptic Armband; a device you wear on your arm that ‘touches’ you electronically using similar technology to the buzzers in smartphones. Our Haptic Armband has 5 buzzers allowing for a broad vocabulary of touches.
The Haptic Armband is part of the Internet of Things, connecting by bluetooth to your mobile phone. We have developed an accompanying mobile app that creates a Social Media Platform of haptic friends. Anyone in the network can send a haptic message to anyone else on the network. Taking up where the infamous Facebook ‘poke’ left off, this work is examining the social psychology and cultural dynamics of a new technological media for ‘keeping in touch’ with your friends.