Conveying Emotions via Haptics 

Testing the effectiveness of haptic language for conveying emotionally significant data


Research technique: Puppeteering/Wizard-of-Ozing - an experience is choreographed for the participant to push them towards believing that a scenario exists, thereby priming them to answer the research questions.


1. Pitch to the participants

Oona is an empathetic object that listens to what the user says to it and responds to the user in the language of a heartbeat. It listens through the microphone on it and decodes the content to identify the words and the tone of voice to recognize the underlying mood.


Oona is new to the English language so it only understands a few contexts. Here are a few statements that would act as a guide.

2. Questionaire presented to the participants

3. Effect on the participants

If the participant expresses something with fear or sadness the heart rate would slowly rise and if you say something happy or pleasant, the heartbeat slows down. The participants were presented with these cards with blanks for them to fill. The heartbeat through a vibration motor was orchestrated as per the prompt card sequence to create the illusory experience of having an empathic conversation with an object. This helped in opening up deeper conversations about objects capable of being empathic and their views about affective technologies.

4. Insights

Intent to provide care

Some participants felt that Oona was like a small pet because of its form and the heartbeat motivated them to handle it carefully.



Some expressed the need for a more precise language. They required more quantifiable data and stated that they expect machines to be definitive.



Some expressed a concern that if objects like these existed, people would lock themselves in their houses and only talk to these boxes.



One woman expressed that an object like this would help her to be more aware of how she felt as sometimes she gets caught up in her own feelings and forgets to acknowledge them 

0. Initial Tests