Touch Amplification for Human Computer Interaction
This thesis proposes a unique approach to haptic feedback, based on a hand-worn electronic device that amplifies the sense of touch. By capturing and reproducing touch elicited vibrations in real time, the feeling of otherwise natural finger-object interactions can be altered, while preserving temporal and spectral properties of the signal that are unique for every interaction and thus impossible to display without sensing and processing in real time. In order to shed light on the physical mechanisms through which such a device can operate, this thesis undertook an empirical investigation of the propagation of touch elicited mechanical vibrations (elastic waves) in the finger, and their dependence on the spatial pathway and frequency of excitation. Next, the thesis proposes a novel touch amplification system informed by these results, and addresses factors affecting the performance of the device, including the stability of the system at high gain levels. The results suggest promising applications in augmented reality and human-computer interaction.