Peripheral Touch – Experiments

LabARynth was a branch of the experiments created during the Peripheral Touch project. The experiments were kicked off by asking ourselves “What would Spidey Senses feel like?”. Spidey Senses are the instinctual senses that SpiderMan uses to sense imminent danger.

LabARynth is an invisible maze, navigable only through vibrations felt on your palm. It recontextualizes the sense of touch by allowing us to “see” what is not there. The idea arose as we imagined an AR future, and the idea of making AR objects part of conventional reality, not something that you have to take your phone out to experience.

Initially we tried blowing air, and making sounds to guide someone around obstacles, but found that manually operating a simple buzzer was the most effective. This buzzer travelled all over our body, neck, to hands, to legs, and at one point there were even 4 buzzers, but this felt a little excessive. One of the most effective was giving someone a ‘tingle down their spine’, and having them turn around just in time to catch a ball that had been thrown at them. The ability to ‘feel’ where a door ISN’T was compelling, and we wondered whether we could transfer the same experience to people who could see, which was how we landed on the concept of LabARynth.