Toward a Haptic Extended Reality?
Haptics technologies—technologies that capture, store, transmit, and reconstruct touch sensations—have long been promised as a possible means of restoring touch to virtual experiences, as a means of countering and supplementing the audiovisuality of computer-generated and computationally enhanced worlds.
Up to this point, despite a research and development tradition that stretches back at least to the 1960s, these technologies have fallen short of meeting the lofty promises made for them.
Against this backdrop, I explore ‘the dream of haptics’: the humanistic, liberatory, transformative, deterministic, and utopian hopes repeatedly mobilized around haptics technologies that situate them as a means of reconnecting to and rediscovering a lost mode of experience.
I am interested in understanding the present cultural status of haptics technologies through an exploration of their victories and setbacks: where have haptics technologies succeeded—and why?
Where and how have they fallen short?
And, in looking to the future, what potential—if any—does this new generation of just-on-the-horizon haptics devices for XR have to finally realize this dream of haptics?
How might the integration of haptics into XR interfaces alter and transform our digitally mediated posthuman sensorium?