The graduation project relates to the R&D project ‘WEAFING’ and will be an assignment at Elitac Wearables, located in Utrecht.
Topic: Design and Manufacture a wearable prototype for social touch use case
Elitac Wearables is a partner in the EU-funded research project WEAFING. The goal of this project is to develop novel, unprecedented garments for haptic stimulation comprising flexible and wearable textile actuators The project duration is 2019-2023. The consortium consists of university partners from Sweden (Hogskolan Boras & Linkoeping University), The Netherlands (TU Twente), France (Cergy Paris Universite), and two SMEs: Wearable Technologies in Germany and Elitac Wearables in Utrecht, The Netherlands. Within the WEAFING project, Elitac Wearables is working on the demonstrator garment that shows the potential of the actuator technology that is developed during this project.
Recently, the consortium decided on the use case Social Touch: a virtual touch accessory for use during remote communication. Social touch allows for an improved and more emotional connection during remote communication. It is addressed toward elderly people living in residences who do not have the chance to visit their children or grandchildren as often as needed and thus suffer from lack of social contact. The WEAFING technology needs to be integrated in a wearable sleeve that can be worn during a video call and transmits different haptic touches – like strokes, taps, squeezes – to the person at the other end of the call.
In this first stage, a demonstrator needs to be manufactured that fulfils the requirements of the consortium. Alternative technologies (e.g. vibrotactile actuators, small tubes that work with pneumatics, etc.) will serve as placeholders to simulate the yet to be developed textile actuator technology. The demonstrator will be important in informing and driving the requirements for the newly developed actuator. At a later stage of the project, the plan is to replace the alternative technology with the actual technology.