Our sense of touch is a powerful emotional communicator. A gentle stroke, a punch, a pinch, a slap, a pat, a hand held on another’s shoulder – all of these register deeply within us. When we’re anxious or upset, simply being held is universally calming and reassuring.
In medicine, the healing power of touch offers a huge opportunity if touch sensations could be generated by a system or device. Research being done at University of Sussex suggests ways that this might be accomplished.
From an article at Kurzweilai.net:
“A University of Sussex-led study has shown that human emotions can be transferred to another person by stimulating different parts of the hand with short blasts of air to convey feelings such as happiness, sadness, excitement, or fear. The “UltraHaptics” system sends air pulses to the area around the thumb, index finger and middle part of the palm to generate excitement; slow, moderate stimulation of the outer palm and the area around the little finger generates sad feelings.”