Challenges and Opportunities in Actuating Human Bodies

Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS) recently received considerable attention in the HCI community. By applying small signals to the user’s body, different types of movement can be generated. These movements allow designers to create more meaningful and embodied haptic feedback compared to vibrotactile feedback. This advantage also comes with further technical and practical challenges which need to be tackled. These challenges include a fine grained calibration procedure and a close contact to the user’s body at specific on-body locations. This tutorial gives an overview about current research projects, challenges, and opportunities to use EMS for providing rich embodied feedback followed by a hand on experience. The main goal of this tutorial is that participants get a basic understanding of how EMS works and how systems that are using EMS can be developed and evaluated.