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Embodied Interaction

Research Group: Situated Art and Design

This research focuses on the design of tactile interfaces, using sensor technology. 

What kinds of new and different experiences can interaction designers create based on a situated approach to the user experience? This question is central to the Embodied Interaction research. In the first phase of the research, prototypes were developed for tactile interfaces. These interfaces provide information by means of vibrations. The receivers can receive various messages by means of these vibrations. 



The Tactile Feedback Belt has been developed as an interface within this research. The Enactive Torch (enactivetorch.wordpress.comarrow) was also used. The Tactile Feedback Belt gives indication, for example, of magnetic north by vibration, while the Enactive Torch measures the distance to objects, signalling these through vibrations in a flashlight-like box. These tools are combined with 3D tracking sensors. By combining the interactive belt with a 3D positioning system, virtual spatial shapes can be communicated to the wearer by means of tactile stimulation. 

User experiences

The second phase of the research focuses mainly on the users experience of the interfaces. The Tactile Feedback Belt and the Enactive Torch have been tested by various users, such as the Communication & Multimedia Design students at Avans University of Applied Sciences, dancers from dance group De Stilte and people with sensory disabilities. Blind or visually impaired people can see their surroundings with the interactive belt by means of vibrations. 

Based on the previous user tests, an interactive installation was developed that was tested during the Sencity festival, a festival for blind and partially sighted people, in March 2019 and was very well received.

Current research

Based on insights from experiments conducted at the Sencity Festival, in Utrecht, 2019, and previous experiences with the prototype, further research is being conducted into the experience of augmented sense-making among specific (expert) users, such as blind and partially sighted people. The potential of such experiences within the domain of care and welfare is central to this research. 

Research question for follow-up research: 

What is the potential of augmented sense-making for the domain of care and welfare? 

Ongoing investigation, started in September 2016. 

Principle investigator
Michel Witter

Other researchers involved
Alwin De Rooij, Tilburg University
Antal Ruhl 

Michel van Dartel

Avans University of Applied Sciences
SIA RAAK project SAPS: Sensory Augmentation for Public Space 

BUas (Breda University of Applied Sciences, previously NHTV)
HUMAN-lab from CMD, Breda
Dansgroep De Stilte, Breda
Philips Research, Eindhoven
Sencity festival, Utrecht
Tilburg School of Humanities and Digital Sciences Department Communication en Cognition, Tilburg University 

KITT Engineering, Enschede
V2_Lab for Unstable Media, Rotterdam 

Avans University of Applied Sciences  

‘Investigating the potential of sensory augmentation to bridge the sensory gap between deaf and hearing.’

Michel Witter is a researcher within the Situated Art and Design research group and a tutor at the Communication & Multimedia Design programme at Avans University of Applied Sciences in Breda.

Michel Witter arrow


Witter, M. & Calvi, L. (2017), Enabling Augmented Sense-Making (and Pure Experience) with Wearable Technologyarrow, In Y. Chisik, J. Holopainen, R. Khaled, J.L. Silva & P.A. Silva (Eds.) Lecture Notes of the Institute for Computer Sciences, Social Informatics and Telecommunications Engineering (LNICST) 215: Intelligent Technologies for Interactive Entertainment, pp. 136-141. Springer: Berlin.

de Rooij, A., van Dartel, M., Ruhl, A., Schraffenberger, H., van Melick, B., Bontje, M., Daams, M., and Witter, M. (2017), Sensory Augmentation Interfaces: A Dialogue between the Arts and Sciences, arrowIn A. Brooks, Brooks, E. & Vidakis, N. (Eds.) Lecture Notes of the Institute for Computer Sciences, Social Informatics and Telecommunications Engineering (LNICST): Interactivity, Game Creation, Design, Learning, and Innovation. Springer: Berlin.

Research Group: Situated Art and Design

Living in cities developed around data and acting within the inscrutable structure of our techno-society demands art and design that can help understand how we relate to these rapidly changing surroundings and to reflect on that relationship. The research group Situated Art and Design responds to this exigency by fostering a situated turn in art and design through a diverse portfolio of interdisciplinary research projects in partnership with academic and cultural partners, as well as with government and industry.

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