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A stroking device for spatially separated couples

Eichhorn, E. and Wettach, R. and Hornecker, E. (2008) A stroking device for spatially separated couples. In: Proceedings of ACM MobileHCI 2008. ACM, pp. 303-306. ISBN 978-1-59593-952-4

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In this paper we present a device to support the communication of couples in long-distance relationships. While a synchronous exchange of factual information over distance is supported by telephone, e-mail and chat-systems, the transmission of nonverbal aspects of communication is still unsatisfactory. Videocalls let us see the partners’ facial expression in real time. However, to experience a more intimate conversation physical closeness is needed. Stroking while holding hands is a special and emotional gesture for couples. Hence, we developed a device that enables couples to exchange the physical gesture of stroking regardless of distance and location. The device allows both sending and receiving. A user test supported our concept and provided new insights for future development.