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Artem Dementyev, Pascal Getreuer, Dimitri Kanevsky, Malcolm Slaney, and Richard F. Lyon. “VHP: Vibrotactile Haptics Platform for On-body Applications.” In The 34th Annual ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology pp. 598–612. 2021.

Article permalink: https://doi.org/10.1145/3472749.3474772

  title={{VHP}: Vibrotactile Haptics Platform for On-body Applications},
  author={Dementyev, Artem and Getreuer, Pascal and Kanevsky, Dimitri and
          Slaney, Malcolm and Lyon, Richard F},
  booktitle={The 34th Annual ACM Symposium on
             User Interface Software and Technology},


Wearable vibrotactile devices have many potential applications, including sensory substitution for accessibility and notifications. Currently, vibrotactile experimentation is done using large lab setups. However, most practical applications require standalone on-body devices and integration into small form factors. Such integration is time-consuming and requires expertise.

With a goal to democratize wearable haptics we introduce VHP, a vibrotactile haptics platform. It includes a low-power miniature electronics board that can drive up to 12 independent channels of haptic signals with arbitrary waveforms at a 2 kHz sampling rate. The platform can drive vibrotactile actuators including linear resonant actuators and voice coils. The control hardware is battery-powered and programmable, and has multiple input options, including serial and Bluetooth, as well as the ability to synthesize haptic signals internally. We developed current-based loading sensing, thus allowing for unique features such as actuator auto-classification, and skin-contact quality sensing. Our technical evaluations showed that the system met all our initial design criteria and is an improvement over prior methods as it allows all-day wear, has low latency, has battery life between 3 and 25 hours, and can run 12 actuators simultaneously.

We demonstrate unique applications that would be time-consuming to develop without the VHP platform. We show that VHP can be used as bracelet, sleeve and phone-case form factors. The bracelet was programmed with an audio-to-tactile interface and was successfully worn for multiple days over months by developers. To facilitate more use of this platform, we open-source our design and plan to make the hardware widely available. We hope this work will motivate the use and study of vibrotactile all-day wearable devices.

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