HAPI: haptic interaction for mobile devices

MA Interaction Design thesis project in collaboration with Nokia exploring haptic interaction techniques for mobile devices. January-May 2007 at Umeå Institute of Design.

For the past decades, the repertoire of input and output forms used in mobile devices has been generally limited to the traditional buttons-display paradigm, inherited from their telecommunication or computing origin.

HAPI aims at exploring and developing new sensorial interaction techniques for mobile devices based on the touch sense. This research-oriented degree project focuses on hardware sketching to evolve new ideas and possibilities. The goals are to explore how haptic interfaces and techniques could enhance mobile interaction to fully exploit and embrace users' capabilities for richer, more intuitive and enjoyable experiences.

This project has been carried out in collaboration with Nokia Design, Insight and Innovation.


20 weeks, January-May 2007


Nokia Design - Insight and Innovation (Mike Kruzeniski)
Umeå Institute of Design

This project has 9 images and 2 videos

Gesture control

Work-in-progress showing gestural control of the contact list.

Small gestures move up/down one contact. Larger gestures move by 3 contacts. Big yanks move to the top/bottom of the list.

Video mov, 550 x 412px , 6.17 MB

Sequencer controlling the vibrating grip

Processing sketch running on the laptop. It communicates with the device over serial.

The application has predefined sequences but users can edit and create new ones. Settings are saved in XML format and and be loaded/imported easily.

Video mov, 550 x 412px , 17.33 MB

Framing of the MA project

Emphasis on prototyping right from the beginning

Explorative hardware haptic sketches

Using microcontroller and software to control actuation

Output modules with different materials and mechanisms

One the final prototype, 10 vibrotactile disks for localized stimulation

Simple non-tech explorations to get people to talk about their haptic sense

Testing of various modules for gestural interaction

Gesture interaction prototype

This mock-up/prototype has a sensor board to detect orientation and movement. Various gestures are recognized to control the phone: small and large flick, full yanks, rest gesture to silence the phone, etc.