project . 2022 - 2027 . On going

Intimate Touch

Developing Interaction Design Knowledge and Materials where Technology Touches the Body
Open Access mandate for Publications and Research data
European Commission
Funder: European CommissionProject code: 101043637 Call for proposal: ERC-2021-COG
Funded under: HE | ERC | HORIZON-ERC\HORIZON-AG Overall Budget: 1,861,900 EURFunder Contribution: 1,861,900 EUR
Status: On going
01 Sep 2022 (Started) 31 Aug 2027 (Ending)

Intimate Touch will re-conceptualise how technologies use touch to interact with us. Bringing intimacy as a lens on touch inspires us to think about the felt experience of touch, the diversity of places on the body where we will be touched by technology, and the sense that touch can be transformative of our view of ourselves. This project will develop the theory, methods and technologies of Intimate Touch. It will bring together research in Human-Computer Interaction on intimate technologies with new interaction techniques, alongside psychological theories on intimacy and neuroscience perspectives on touch. Technologies that touch us will constitute a new paradigm of interactive devices, most strongly exemplified by care robots. Designing technologies for Intimate Touch will be foundational in creating dignified and acceptable interactions between humans and technologies. The first objective is to develop a model of ‘intimate technology’. No researcher has done this before. This model will be developed through a large-scale interview study alongside in-situ, long-term studies of our own demonstrators of Intimate Touch. By identifying which interactions lead to intimacy, this project will have empirically identified a new class of technology, ‘intimate technology’. Autonomous systems will touch many areas of our bodies. Yet, there has been no serious study of touch experiences other than on the hands and shoulders. My second objective will counter this by innovating on a design approach that centres the felt experience of touch from technology, and by creating a dataset that describes people’s experience of touch from technology across the body. My final objective is to develop two demonstrators of Intimate Touch. This risky challenge will evidence how touch with technology transforms us. Practically this will provide a roadmap to good touch from technology. Empirically this will lay the groundwork for a re-conceptualization of our relationship with technology

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