Elitac integrates vibration electronics in various wearable textiles, so called haptic wearables. These products use vibration to transmit information directly onto the skin of the wearer. Tactile information has been proven to be a very intuitive communication channel.
Elitac provides an easy to use, highly customizable Tactile Display that can be used to test tactile applications in a research environment. The wired electronics are attached to the garment using pockets and velcro on the vibration motors. The hardware runs on a “TactileOS” operating system, which enables clients to link other information systems, or to come up with their own ideas.
The shirt is made from a moisture-wicking, breathable and anti-bacterial material, to make it comfortable to wear in different situations and environments. All electronics are detachable for laundry, yet are able to withstand sweat and heat during use.
“It is a real pleasure to work with Anneke. She is committed, has an entrepreneurial mindset and is a master in rapid prototyping. Her commitment, vision and drive accelerate product development.”Merijn Klarenbeek – Director of Safety and Defence – Elitac B.V.
The initial 2013 version was mainly developed for researchers to validate their ideas on transmitting tactile information. The researcher could fully customize the setup of the vibration motors as well as the position on the body by changing the amount of vibration motors, cable length and using fabric straps to cover multiple body parts.
While moving out of the research domain to other markets, a need occurred to professionalize the hardware on looks, usability as well as on producibility and reducing cost prices. Within this process we completely redesigned all electronic hardware, embedded firmware as well as enclosure and overmould of the tactors.
My role within the project was to redefine the user interaction with the controle module and to design the enclosure and overmould of the vibration motors.
Most of Elitac’s tactile applications such as navigation or communication are using an 8-vibration motor string around the torso to display direction or simple messages. Therefore the torso strap has been replaced with a breathable garment that can be worn as second layer, under normal work attire. In multiple iteration steps we’ve created a garment that is as thin and airy as possible – yet allows for comfortable and precise placement of the vibration electronics.
Market feedback pointed out that the updated wired hardware is easier to use, but most of all more comfortable and better looking which improves overall acceptance.
Wearable Development, Prototyping, User Experience (UX), User Testing