We have a plethora of remote communication technologies at our disposal, mostly limited to visual and auditory senses. These spatial senses are important for dealing with the concept of structure in physical objects, and of course includes the sense of touch.
Like the visual and auditory senses, the sense of touch is important for Human Computer Interaction when dealing with the physical environment. Examples of applications include the incorporation of haptic feedback into virtual environments, where users have the ability to push, pull, feel, and manipulate objects in virtual space.
Human to human communication also includes this physical element. Research has shown that the sense of touch is highly important in social interactions. Gentle stroking touches applied with a velocity of between 1 to 10 centimetre per second have been suggested to be especially relevant in social-affective touch interactions.
Researchers have now begun to investigate how such social-affective aspects of touch can be used in Human Computer Interaction, for example for remote communication between partners, or in interactions with social robots.