Gijs Huisman

Researcher at the Human Media Interaction Group of the University of Twente, working on Social Touch Techology.

Guest blog at IN-TOUCH UCL

Last April I was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to co-organize Reshaping Touch Communication, a workshop at CHI’18 in Montréal. Among the organizers was the team of the IN-TOUCH project headed by Carey Jewitt of the UCL Knowledge Lab. In the IN-TOUCH project Carey and her team investigate how touch technology can reshape touch practices in society. If you are interested in haptics and touch at all do keep an eye out for more from this fantastic project!

It was an absolute pleasure to work with Carey and all the other organizers of the CHI’18 workshop. Carey asked me to share my perspective on the workshop in a blog post for the IN-TOUCH website. You can read it here.

Papers at BHCI’18


In a few weeks time we’ll be presenting some very nice student work at the British HCI conference in Belfast, UK. Our full paper, Virtual Nature Environments Based on Fractal Geometry for Optimizing Restorative Effects, describes work conducted by Marc van Almkerk on the use of fractals for creating restorative virtual nature environments. In the Work in Progress paper, inCrease: an Approach for Particle Enhanced Soft Composite 3D-Printed Tactile Displays, we outline explorative work by Marc van Almkerk, Casper Kessels and others, on the use of 3D printing techniques for creating tactile textures.

CHI 2018 Workshop CfP: Reshaping Touch Communication


Come join us at CHI 2018 during our workshop, initiated by UCL’s InTouch project, Reshaping Touch Communication: An Interdisciplinary Research Agenda. The call-for-papers can be found below.

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A recap of 2017

It has been a while since I last posted something here. Not due to a lack of things to report, but rather, the opposite. Here is a quick recap of what my 2017 looked like:

  • As the last post before this one shows, I obtained my PhD! My thesis can be found here and there is still a limited number of physical copies (with special soft-touch cover!) available for those interested (get in touch!).
  • I started working as a post doctoral researcher at the 4TU Humans & Technology Research Centre. The centre is a collaboration between the four technical universities in the Netherlands and focusses on researching human-technology interactions. At the centre I continue my work on haptics and social and affective touch.
  • Since the beginning of 2017 I have also been working at a start-up I co-founded, called House of Haptics. We had a successful campaign on Kickstarter and, despite a few setbacks, we are close to launching our first product, HEY bracelet. More news on this will follow as we get closer to launch. In the mean time keep an eye on!
  • I have also joined the University of Twente’s Design Lab as a Research Fellow. The Design Lab is an exciting environment meant to foster interdisciplinary collaboration between science, business and government with the goal of tackling societal challenges. I will be making a contribution to defining the Design Lab’s research agenda.
  • I collaborated with Thomas van Rompay (UT Communication Science) and Somaya Ben Allouch (Saxion, Technology, Health & Care) a proposal on the use digital nature environments (see also the previous work I did on this) to reduce loneliness in frail elderly. The basic idea behind the proposal is that exposure to digital nature can have beneficial health effects, can serve as a virtual meeting place and can act as a gateway for people to meet in real nature. The proposal was accepted by funding agency ZonMW and we will be looking to recruit a PhD student soon! (interested? Let me know!)
  • I also worked on a European project proposal which, unfortunately, was not accepted and I worked on a touch-focussed proposal that is likely to be accepted. Mysterious, I know; more news soon!
  • It has been a very long time in the making but my survey paper “Social Touch Technology: A Survey of Haptic Technology for Social Touch” has finally been published. You can find it here.
  • Together with Carey Jewitt, Sara Price (of UCL’s InTouch project), and others I have worked on a CHI 2018 workshop proposal. The proposal was accepted and I will be sharing the call-for-papers soon!

PhD Defense

It has been a while since the last update but I have a rather good excuse: last Friday, on the 24th of Februari, I successfully defended my PhD dissertation! My dissertation, which is titled “Social Touch Technology – Extending the reach of social touch through haptic technology“, is the culmination of five years of work on haptic technology for social and affective communication. It has been quite the journey and I am extremely grateful to everyone who has been involved in the research!

Best paper award at ACE’16


Our paper “A Moving Feast: Effects of Color, Shape and Animation on Taste Associations and Taste Perceptions” has won a best paper award at the ACE’16 conference! In the paper we detail a number of studies in which we investigate how animated projections on top of, and around food can alter a person’s initial impression and actual taste of food.

Digital nature

For the past couple of months I have been working on a short-term project together with people from the behavioral science and design departments of our university, as well as with KAIST in South Korea. In the project, we design and evaluate an ambient display that shows digitalized versions of natural landscapes. The idea is that, especially when such natural landscapes are well designed, taking into account how people generally perceive nature, the view of a natural landscape can positively influence people’s wellbeing and resilience. Eventually, we want to follow up on the initial designs and evaluations of the landscapes that we created, and test the ambient display in elderly home and hospital ward.

Tasty Bits & Bytes at The Future of High Tech event


Though technically not a startup (yet, anyway), we were invited to show our Tasty Bits and Bytes project at the Future of High Tech event in Enschede. The event was part of the Startup Fest Europe, which is an effort to stimulate the growth of startups within Europe. The main event featured headline grabbing speakers such as Apple’s Tim Cook and Neelie Kroes (soon to be an adviser of Uber and board member of SalesForce).

At the Future of High Tech event we showed a setup that a group of students has been working on as part of the TB&B project. The setup was constructed for an experiment on the influence of visual stimuli on the perception and experience of flavor in yogurts. It works by projecting different shapes of different colors and with different animation speeds over a cup of yogurt.

We are currently analyzing the results of the experiment so more on this soon!

New page: public speaking

I have decided to add a new page to this website. The page carries the title “Public speaking” and contains information about talks, interviews or workshops I will give or have given.

Papers at EuroHaptics’16

Two papers that I (co-) authored have been accepted as technical papers at EuroHaptics’16! Both papers deal with a related line of research I have been working on, namely affective (stroking) touch sensations and pleasantness responses to such sensations. In one paper we investigated whether pleasantness responses from vibrotactile stroking sensations would be judged in a way comparable to real touch. In the other paper we looked at how visual information about the object that is touching, influences pleasantness perceptions.