feelabuzz

Motivation

When people we like are far from us, we often reach out with our thoughts and imagine what they might be doing. What we cannot do is actually reach out and feel what they are doing. With feelabuzz we want to change that.

There are a few devices built to transmit physical movements over a distance. However, they all have to be used explicitly; they aren't always with us and therefore they don't allow a person who is dear to us to just tune into our movements. That's exactly why using a mobile phone adds a whole new dimension to these existing prototypes: there's no extra hardware required, neither to buy nor to carry. We all take our mobile phone with us wherever we go. So any time we spring into someone's mind and he or she feels the need to feel connected or is just curious of what we might just be doing – they can just fire up feelabuzz and feel our live movements transmitted to them from all over the world.

Touch is fundamental in all non-digital interpersonal communications. Regardless the context, touch is a major part of the conversation. Ranging from a formal handshake to a loving hug of a friend. Until today there are no consumer devices available which are able to transport the haptic layer of the conversation.

The Challenge

Albeit the vibrations today's mobile phones can make are a poor substitute for the actual touch of another person, we think the knowledge that it's the very movement the other person is doing just now that makes my phone vibrate in a certain way can give us a real feeling of presence and intimacy. Imagine how a piece of clothes our loved one wore or a letter he or she wrote or the place he or she used to sit can make us feel just because he or she touched it. Often, the less images are there, the more powerful the images our wonderful tool of fantasy will conjure up. Just give fantasy something to hook on to, something to build upon and it will add in all the rest just by the power of our mind.

Deaf people can learn to master musical instruments just by feeling their instruments' vibrations which shows how sensible and unjustifiably neglected our sense of touch really is. What remains to be seen, though, is how to best convey the acceleration data to enable users to get connected to their friends in the best possible way.

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image by Alexis O'Toole

image by Holm Engelbrecht