Changing a Haptic Perspective into that of a Child

We engineered an exoskeleton, which we call HandMorph, that approximates the experience of having a smaller grasping range. It uses mechanical links to transmit motion from the wearer’s fingers to a smaller hand with five anatomically correct fingers. The result is that HandMorph miniaturizes a wearer’s grasping range while transmitting haptic feedback.

Unlike other size-illusions based on virtual reality, HandMorph achieves this in the user’s real environment, preserving the user’s physical and social contexts. As such, our device can be integrated into the user’s workflow, e.g., to allow product designers to momentarily change their grasping range into that of a child while evaluating a toy prototype.

In our first user study, we found that participants perceived objects as larger when wearing HandMorph, which suggests that their size perception was successfully transformed.
In our second user study, we assessed the experience of using HandMorph in designing a simple toy trumpet for children. We found that participants felt more confident in their toy design when using HandMorph to validate its ergonomics.