Communicating Emotion through Haptic Design: A Study Using Physical Keys

Marie Kjær Kjellerup
Technical University of Denmark, Denmark

Anne Cathrine Cathrine Larsen
Technical University of Denmark, Denmark

Anja Maier
Technical University of Denmark, Denmark

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Ingår i: KEER2014. Proceedings of the 5th Kanesi Engineering and Emotion Research; International Conference; Linköping; Sweden; June 11-13

Linköping Electronic Conference Proceedings 100:23, s. 299-311

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Publicerad: 2014-06-11

ISBN: 978-91-7519-276-5

ISSN: 1650-3686 (tryckt), 1650-3740 (online)


This paper explores how designers may communicate with the users of their products through haptic design. More specifically; how tactile properties of materials evoke emotions such as satisfaction; joy; or disgust. A research through design approach has been followed; mood- and material boards and prototypes of four ‘haptically enhanced’ (physical) keys were created. Types of keys selected include home; bicycle; hobby; and basement. An experiment with ten participants was conducted; using word association and a software to elicit product emotions (PrEmo). Results show a mapping between the designer’s intent and the user’s inference. We conclude that it is thus viable to communicate emotions using haptic design. Moreover; we found that when using their sense of touch; participants’ previous positive or negative memories and experiences were projected onto the objects.


Affective Engineering; Design Communication; Emotional Design; Haptic Perception; Rapid Prototyping


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