Flow: towards communicating directional cues through inflatables

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Current research in wearable technologies have shown that we can use real-time tactile instructions to support the learning of physical activities through vibrotactile stimulation. While tactile cues based on vibration may indicate direction, they do not convey the direction of movement. We would like to propose the use of inflatables as an alternative form of actuation to express such information through pressure. Inspired by notions from embodied interaction and somaesthetic design, we present in this paper a research through design (RtD) project that substitutes directional metaphors with push against the body. The result, Flow, is a wearable designed to cue six movements of the wrist/forearm to support the training of elementary sensory-motor skills of physical activities, such as foil fencing. We contribute with the description of the design process and reflections on how to design for tactile motion instructions through inflatables.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCHI EA 2019 - Extended Abstracts of the 2019 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery, Inc
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-4503-5971-9
Publication statusPublished - 2 May 2019
Event37th ACM Annual Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2019 - Scottish Event Campus, Glasgow, United Kingdom
Duration: 4 May 20199 May 2019
Conference number: 37


Conference37th ACM Annual Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2019
Abbreviated titleCHI 2019
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


  • Embodied interaction
  • Research through design
  • Soft actuation
  • Tactile motion instructions


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