The Haptic Storybook

The haptic storybook was originally an idea introduced in a 2014 study by Siyan Zhao. In this study participants were children 4-6. They wore haptic vests that generated haptic sensations on the children’s’ backs as they listened to the stories. The sensations corresponded to the events in the stories. The results showed children younger than five could not associate haptic sensations with semantic meanings in the story. In the 6 year old participants these sensations that were story related improved the children’s’ performance on story comprehension.

Story listening plays an important role in young children’s literacy development. It builds comprehension and story telling skills.   Children make connects in vocabulary, grammar, and phrases in the context of a story because it is presented in a more meaningful way.   I decided to take a popular children’s’ book and add places where haptic feedback might be helpful to add to create more pathways to learning these critical skills through story telling.

I decided to read the book “One Duck Stuck”. I have read it many times with my students. A duck gets stuck in the mud. Several animal friends help him get unstuck along the way. The animals gather around closely. Some of them jump on his back. This is a perfect place to add haptic feedback. Here is a Tumble book version on this book.

Using a haptic vest as an interface, these sensations can be simulated on a child’s back during the reading of this story

  • moose licks the duck
  • 4 crickets hops on the duck’s back
  • 5 frogs plop on the duck’s back
  • 7 snails slipping on the duck’s back
  • For 8 possums the child could experience a brush of the blossoms lowered by the possums from the tree.
  • 9 slithering sone-duck-stuck-paperback-nakes or the feeling of slithering on the back (might freak some kids out…)
  • 10 dragonflies brush their wings against the duck’s back
  • As they all try to get the duck unstuck, there is a feeling of splashing, force, and a combination of the above sensations.

This example, as I said, might be a little too creepy crawly for some. It is one example of where a teacher could add haptic feedback. Other sensations might be snow falling, splashing, rain, something on a person’s back, vibration from a construction site, a lick from a puppy, butterfly wings or a hug

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