How might we use affective design to enhance the engagement in human communication?

I am studying the relationship between emotion in human communication and haptic experience, in order to explore the role of affective haptic design in social interaction.

In this prototype, I am making an interactive pillow which has the haptic feedback that is able to convey the emotional message from one another.


  • User: The people who are in a long-distance relationship. It can be family members, lovers, or close friends.
  • Where: The pillow is a private belonging that will only be used in the house.
  • When: When two people miss each other, they can use the pillow to transfer the affect remotely.


Details of the pillow

  • The shape of the pillow is easy to hug and hold the hand, just like you are actually holding your beloved.
  • The user (sender) can use the finger to write on the palm part which embeds a sensor tracking finger’s movement. Another user (receiver) can put his/her palm on the pillow’s palm and feel haptic of writing from the sender.
  • The pillow also embeds the heartbeat simulator that transfers the sender’s heartbeat vibration to the receiver.


User Testing


Result & Feedbacks

  • The drawing content on the palm is not necessary to be read/understand. Just feel the touch is enough.
  • This is a private product which can only be used for specific users that have physical connections.
  • The palm can also be an input —> detect the heartbeat?
  • It can add the temperature feature —> use the warm to enhance the intimacy.
  • How to avoid uncanny valley?
  • Check out the Apple Watch digital touch feature and see how many people actually use it. Ask them for the feedback of drawing message/heartbeat message.
  • The sex industry is very important in the affect haptic field.