A Manifesto for Touch in Crisis

We are engaged in the development of a Manifesto for Touch in Crisis. The aim of the manifesto is to offer a provocative vision designed to ignite debate, raise awareness, inspire and direct the design of social touch. 

This is a collaboration with academic and industry colleagues in the field of haptics including computer scientists, engineers and HCI designers. The manifesto is an activity sparked by the Eurohaptics 2020 conference workshop: Designing Digital Touch: Social and Sensory Aspects and Challenges.

The workshop included activities designed to set the scene for an interdisciplinary collaboration including presentations from Jürgen Steimle on New haptic technologies and interfaces for skin and rich materials, Carey Jewitt on The sociality and sensoriality of touch and Narges Pourjafarian, introducing the Multi-Touch Kit. This provided a grounding for sharing, discussing and mapping points of connection, contradictions,

We used the InTouch Designing Digital Touch toolkit to interrogate
the Multi-Touch Kit. The focus was on exploring the social and sensorial challenges of digitalising touch through the process of creating interface prototypes with custom-designed multi-touch input surfaces, rather than the production of working prototypes. The activity was organised around three key themes: materiality of touch, touch temporality, notions of interpretation, and ethical design implications. Discussion was mapped using Miro. Participants draw on their experiences and the workshop activities to map the challenges and opportunities for designing digital touch with the social and sensory in mind.

The workshop materials were reviewed by participants and facilitators to generate ideas towards a Manifesto. These were collaboratively explored and elaborated on by the facilitators and a follow-on development session with participants. This iterative development process is ongoing… We hope to publish the Manifesto in 2021 following a peer review process.


Professor Jürgen Steimle, Head of the Human-Computer Interaction and Interactive Technologies Lab, at the Department of Computer Science at Saarland University, Germany.

Narjes Pourjafarian member of the Human-Computer Interaction group at the Department of Computer Science at Saarland University, Germany.