ETC - Embodied Telepresent Connection

profile

Embodied Telepresent Connection (ETC): Exploring Virtual Social Touch Through Pseudohaptics

ETC (Embodied Telepresent Connection) is an artis­tic VR project explor­ing ways of elic­it­ing a feel­ing of embod­ied con­nec­tion telep­resently through pseudo­hap­tics. This project emerged during the begin­ning of COVID-19-related lock­downs when our social inter­ac­tions began to inhabit nearly exclu­sively vir­tual spaces, and the lack of the embod­ied dimen­sion of con­nec­tion became more appar­ent. When our vir­tual instal­la­tions, e.g. Body RemiXer, cap­i­tal­iz­ing on the power of an inter­per­sonal touch, had to be tran­si­tioned to online instal­la­tions, we decided to embark on this oppor­tu­nity to explore the poten­tial of VR tech­nol­ogy to elicit a feel­ing of embod­ied con­nec­tion and inter­per­sonal touch even in the absence of the actual phys­i­cal body of another co-located person. This project con­sti­tutes of a series of VR pro­to­types that inves­ti­gate an idea of elic­it­ing an illu­sion of social touch and bodily con­nec­tion, through visu­als, sounds, biosig­nals and embod­ied metaphors. ETC allows imm­er­sants to inter­act with another person net­worked into the same vir­tual space and rep­re­sented as an abstract par­ti­cle aura. The designed inter­ac­tions pro­vide faint inef­fa­ble sen­sa­tions of phys­i­cally con­nect­ing with another person, sup­port­ing sense of inti­macy, close­ness, and stim­u­lat­ing play­ful­ness and col­lab­o­ra­tive explo­ration.

The project is sup­ported by Canada Council for the Arts.

Publications

Desnoyers-Stewart, J., Stepanova, E. R., Liu, P., Ryzhov, V., Kitson, A., Pennefather, P. P., & Riecke, B. E. (2023, October 1). Embodied Telepresent Connection (ETC) [Curated Virtual Reality Exhibition]. VIFF Signals — Beta Lounge, Bentall II, Vancouver, BC, Canada. https://viff.org/signals/
Desnoyers-Stewart, J., Meneghini, M. B., Stepanova, E. R., & Riecke, B. E. (2023). Real Human Touch: Performer-Facilitated Touch Enhances Presence and Embodiment in Immersive Performance. Frontiers in Virtual Reality, 4, 1–45. https://doi.org/10.3389/frvir.2023.1336581 (Download)
Desnoyers-Stewart, J., Stepanova, E. R., Liu, P., Kitson, A., Pennefather, P. P., Rhyzhov, V., & Riecke, B. E. (2023). Embodied Telepresent Connection (ETC): Exploring Virtual Social Touch Through Pseudohaptics. Extended Abstracts of the 2023 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, 1–7. https://doi.org/10.1145/3544549.3585843 (Download)
Desnoyers-Stewart, J., Stepanova, E. R., Liu, P., Kitson, A., Pennefather, P. P., Rhyzhov, V., & Riecke, B. E. (2023, April 20). Embodied Telepresent Connection (ETC): Exploring Virtual Social Touch Through Pseudohaptics [Curated Virtual Reality Exhibition]. Intangible Realities Lab Virtual Reality Exhibit, Santiago de Compostella, Spain. www.intangiblerealitieslab.org