Affective Haptics: Current Research and Future Directions

Mohamad A. Eid, Hussein Al Osman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Touch plays a prominent role in communicating emotions and intensifying interpersonal communication. Affective haptics is an emerging field, which focuses on the analysis, design, and evaluation of systems that can capture, process, or display emotions through the sense of touch. The objective of this paper is to present an overview of the recent achievements in affective haptics and to discuss how the sense of touch can elicit or influence human emotions. We first introduce a definition to the term affective haptics and describe its multidisciplinary nature - as a field that integrates ideas from affective computing, haptic technology, and user experience. Second, we provide a thorough discussion about the effectiveness of using the haptic channel to communicate affective information through direct and mediated means. Third, we present a variety of applications in the area ranging from interhuman social interaction systems to human robot interaction applications. Finally, we discuss some of the key findings discerned from the various surveyed papers, and present some of the challenges and trends in this field. We extract the following conclusions pertaining to affective haptics: 1) haptic stimulation can be successfully used to achieve a higher level of emotional immersion during media consumption or emotional telepresence; 2) existing research has demonstrated that haptics is effective in communicating valence and arousal, and the emotions of happiness, sadness, anger and fear, and less focus have been given to the communication of disgust and surprise; 3) the haptic-based affect detection remains an understudied topic, whereas the haptic-based affect display is a well-established subject; and 4) the interpretation of the haptic stimulation by human beings is highly contextual.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7320966
Pages (from-to)26-40
Number of pages15
JournalIEEE Access
StatePublished - 2016


  • Affective computing
  • Haptic interfaces
  • Human computer interaction
  • social computing
  • tactile sensors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Computer Science
  • General Materials Science
  • General Engineering


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