Developing Tactile Feedback to Augment Mobile Interaction and to Support Individuals with Situationally Induced Impairments and Disabilities (SIIDs)


As mobile technologies such as cellular telephones, reduce in both size and cost, and improve in fidelity, they become a more attractive option for performing tasks such as surfing the Web and accessing applications while on-the-go. The small size of the visual display limits the amount of information that can be presented, which may lead to cluttered interfaces. Tactile feedback (e.g. vibrations) provides one solution to reducing the burden on the visual channel.


Our research has examined ways to develop perceivable tactile icons (tactons) to aid in non-visual interactions with mobile applications. Parameters of touch have been manipulated, and distributed to a range of sites on the body. We have examined the impact of situational distracters (e.g. ambient sounds) and effects of movement when perceiving tactile feedback (situational induced impairments and disabilities - SIIDs). Methods to develop meaningful tactile feedback mappings have also been investigated.


System Development

Nokia N95 device

Dell Streak tablet

Cues presented to the wrist

Nokia N95 device (

Dell Streak tablet (

Tactile cues from mobile device presented to the wrist






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