The notion that it is possible to ‘see with the hands’, as Descartes once put it in Dioptrique (1637, see Paterson 2016), chimes with the popular imagination of the sense of touch as somehow enhanced in people with impaired vision. It is linked to centuries of philosophical debate and scientific research of how blind people… Continue reading Visual touch or sensing with the eyes
IN-TOUCH visited the London Science Museum’s new Robots exhibition this week. The exhibition sets out to understand what it means to be human by exploring the ‘very human obsession to recreate ourselves’. The quest to build ever more complex robots has transformed our understanding of the human body, and today robots are becoming increasingly human, learning… Continue reading Machine touch?
Losing Touch - a Man without his body. Jonathan Cole, 2016, Oxford University Press This book is about understanding the experience of living with the loss of touch – cutaneous touch and movement/position sense (proprioception). ‘Touch Ian, stroke him, or put a heavy weight in his hand and he cannot feel it. For all the… Continue reading Book review: Losing Touch
Smart textiles or e-textiles are ordinary materials with a range of electronics, conductive materials and sensors woven into the fabric, and that respond to movement and/or touch. Smart textiles are materials that have ‘sensing and actuating properties’. This means they can both ‘sense’ and ‘react’ to external factors in the environment, e.g. mechanical, chemical, thermal,… Continue reading What is the role of e-textiles and smart textiles for touch based communication?
Touch was a significant feature of visiting museums in the past. In the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries visitors to the Ashmolean (Oxford, UK) and the British Museum (London, UK) were allowed to handle, rub, shake and even taste objects on display. Restrictions on how objects could be handled and by whom emerged over time… Continue reading A renaissance of touch in the museum?
Touch is key to retail and consumerism. The role of touch in the success of the mid-nineteenth century phenomenon of the department store is well documented by Classen in The Deepest Sense (2012), her seminal cultural history of touch. She writes of how the department store brought the goods previously out of sight and touch… Continue reading Touch it – Want it? Using Touch to Sell
The visual dominance within the digital landscape has been associated with the stifling of other senses, and is associated with feelings of detachment and alienation. Some have argued that the digital is now in the throws of a ‘poly-sensory comeback’ (Bacci and Melcher, 2013), a sensory revolution in which touch is the vanguard. Digital touch… Continue reading Are we heading toward touch deprivation and sensory extinction?