A recap of 2017

by Gijs

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 are 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 heybracelet.com!
  • 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!