The smart fur prototype is a new type of low-cost, low-tech touch sensor built with conductive fur. Conductive threads are sewn into faux animal-like fur, creating a weak circuit. When someone touches the fur, the hand motion changes the resistance in the circuit, which we analyze over time to recognize emotional touch gestures. The idea for the physical design of the sensor was inspired by Hannah Perner-Wilson's brilliant conductive thread stroke sensor. My Master's thesis has more details.
This research was done as part of the Haptic Creature project, in collaboration with Dr. Karon MacLean at the University of British Columbia's SPIN lab. See the New York times Magazine coverage, or the press page for other media coverage.
Smart fur sensor
Illustration of thread design
Sample gesture data
New York Times Magazine: Cover story, Innovations Issue
Presenting the smart fur sensor: Haptics Symposium, March 2012
Demo of fur responding to a breath: Haptics Symposium, March 2012