Initial 2017 post: Video ASMR artists can directly stimulate ASMR in viewers with gentle sounds, soft voices, and comforting visuals.
But they have been unable to directly stimulate the sensation of touch through a video. And touch may be the strongest trigger of ASMR.
Could there be a way to feel the touch of someone who is in another room or even in another country?
Researchers at Simon Fraser University in Canada have designed gloves called Flex-N-Feel to be worn by individuals at separate locations. When one person Flexes their fingers in the gloves, the other person Feels the touch via vibrotactile sensations on their skin.
The gloves can transmit the sensation of touching a face, holding hands, and giving a hug.
The researchers recruited 9 couples to experiment with the gloves over a Skype video.
Feedback from the participants included:
“I think it makes it more intimate because we try hugging. I have my hands on my forearms. And he actually held his arm out and pressed his arms. I could feel the vibrations. Visually, I saw that he was reaching out to me. Things like that made it more intimate and more realistic.”
“In the Skype video, I was blushing. It is something that you would do because you are not used to this, and if you get something like this intimate response, it’s a legit connection.”
“It helped our intimacy, especially with video. Yeah, I guess it really worked.”
Almost every individual in the study (17 out the 18), stated that they would use the gloves if they were in a long-distance relationship.
Could ASMR videos be augmented by devices like these? It seems likely they could be, and perhaps inevitable that they will be.
Imagine a hat that can be worn to make it feel like someone playing with your hair. Or a shirt that can be worn so you can feel someone draw letters on your back.
Perhaps the movements could also be programmed so it may not need to be done live. Put on the special shirt, select the backtracing program, and start the video.
There are plenty of potential upsides to this type of technology and plenty of potential issues worthy of discussion.
The Flex-N-Feel gloves are still in development but you can see pictures and read about the research study in the following article: Flex-N-Feel: The Design and Evaluation of Emotive Gloves for Couples to Support Touch Over Distance
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