Not so remote

Jack Blog

November 6th, 2013 By Caspar Mason

Touch has a memory, said Keats. Well now it also has global reach, thanks to Tactilu, a prototype device from Poland’s panGenerator.

It’s a bracelet for remote tactile communication. Think Nike+ crossed with a hug. You and a loved one each wear a paired bracelet. When the other person strokes, taps or otherwise touches the strip on the bracelet, that touch is transmitted to the other bracelet and delivered via little moving parts.

Is it creepy? A bit. But also interesting for a number of reasons. One is closed channel communication to one other person: when you feel a touch, you know exactly who it’s from. The other is using touch as a way of communicating – or rather a way of communicating digitally, as its such a primary part of the human experience, but one that is only starting to emerge from the glowing screens and pointers that have characterised our interactions with and through machines up till now.

That combination of ambient (or at least non-visual) communication and always-on connectivity reminds me of another example of Casual Media, the Good Night Lamp: small connected lights, shaped like houses, which light up when loved ones arrive home…even if they’re on the other side of the world. They may a bit of getting used to conceptually, but these are both lovely examples of technology working on a deeper, non-verbal level to communicate emotions.