SwarmHaptics: Haptic Display with Swarm Robots

Lawrence H. Kim, Sean Follmer
CHI: Proceedings of the 2019 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, 2019
This paper seeks tobetter understand the use of haptic feedback in abstract, ubiquitous robotic interfaces. We introduce and provide preliminary evaluations of SwarmHaptics, a new type of haptic display using a swarm of small, wheeled robots. These robots move on a flat surface and apply haptic patterns to the user's hand, arm, or any other accessible body parts. We explore the design space of SwarmHaptics including individual and collective robot parameters, and demonstrate example scenarios including remote social touch using the Zooids platform. To gain insights into human perception, we applied haptic patterns with varying number of robots, force type, frequency, and amplitude and obtained user's perception in terms of emotion, urgency, and Human-Robot Interaction metrics. In a separate elicitation study, users generated a set of haptic patterns for social touch. The results from the two studies help inform how users perceive and generate haptic patterns with SwarmHaptics.