Heartz is a device that uses the sense of touch to connect two loved ones separated by distance.

Our world is increasingly globalised, and there are many devices and technologies that assist us in communicating with each other across continents. Paradoxically, long distance relationships are increasingly more difficult to manage. Many jobs require frequent work travel, forcing people to separate from their loved ones for a considerable length of time. In such situations, one yearns for the physical presence of their partner and to feel connected to them, even if it is for a short time.

A heartbeat is one of the strongest and most comforting indicators of life. Heartz recreates the sensation of a heartbeat by the use of two pulse sensors that users wear as pins on their chests. The sensor reads the heartbeat, and transmits this signal to a pillow that is powered by a solenoid. The connected partner can drift away to sleep as he senses his significant other’s ‘heartbeat.’

One of the main learnings of this class was how well a simple actuator like a solenoid can evoke the very real sense of feeling someone’s pulse. It was much more important to give this sensation a meaningful form than work on refining the sensation itself.