Physical Message

2018 | A Full-Body Communication Device

What alternative forms of virtual communication can we imagine that go beyond the digital screen?
Quite different from today‘s mobile-communication, this design suggests a “slow-chat”, happening gradually over time and located in the domestic space: The full-body communication device is meant to connect two people at different places in a tangible way. Changes in the surface are registered by rotary encoders and afterwards repeated by motors. Users can push, or pull out certain areas of the wall and the action is mirrored in the corresponding space. Each interaction will leave behind a different topography at the wall. How: Most communication interfaces reduce the user’s body to fingers, eyes and ears only.

Testing the prototypes with people, I found that using the entire body makes for intimate and emotional communication forms and allowed for more intuitive responses. Next to the design of several functional prototypes, I explored the potential of a communication form based on haptic pixels: Which visual /symbolic vocabulary would emerge if we conversed like this?