The TECHTILE toolkit is a device which enables to easily design tactile feeling.  Developing and manipulating tactile and haptic devices usually requires special technical skills in electrical, control and computer engineering, and these devices tend to be expensive for general use. The TECHTILE toolkit enables record, edit, and playback the tactile perception of material properties in digital format, and even to share tactile experiences via Internet. Current prototype of TECHTILE toolkit is composed of haptic recorder (a microphone), tactile display (vibrators), and signal amplifier that is optimized to present not only zone of audibility (20-20000Hz) but also low frequency (1-20Hz) vibration. Tactile signal is recorded as audio signal, which can be readily played and edited by audio authoring software. Our developed haptic toolkit extends the possibility of haptic design in art and performance, in addition to haptics research itself.In this website we provide the technical details of TECHTILE toolkit including how to develop the toolkit by oneself, the software for introductory use of toolkit, and basic knowledge on haptics. The artworks produced by using TECHTILE toolkit are also introduced periodically. Keep in touch with this website and give us comments for promoting TECHTILE with us!

Followings are the instructions how to develop the TECHTILE toolkit by yourself.

Approximate time required: Half day
What you will need to build this kit: Audio amplifier (e.g., Rasteme Systems RSDA202), Nintendo DS Rumble pak, 3.5MM Male To Male Stereo Audio Jack Cable, Microphone (audio-technica AT9904), Three terminal low dropout voltage regulator (e.g., TOSHIBA TA48M05), M3 screws x 4, Electric table saw, Solder, Screwdrivers, Glues, Cutter blade, Nipper

* Which audio amplifier is suitable?
Audio amplifier is critical for the tactile perception material properties. Human can perceive vibrotactile feedback up to 1000Hz, but we are very sensitive to the vibratory frequency less than 500 Hz. Therefore, you should choose an audio amplifier that covers lower frequency. Some audio amplifiers have low cut filter to avoid the DC component, but this also degrade the tactile perception in this setup. So far, we reach to the conclusion that the use of Rasteme Systems RSDA202 is optimal for driving the vibrator we used (ALPS, Force Reactor AF, L-type).

* What is the criteria for choosing a microphone?
Please choose a microphone which covers a wide frequency range, as same as an audio amplifier. Microphones with external power supply should be chosen if you create the TECHTILE toolkit by following instructions.

Detail instructions

Step1: the TECHTILE toolkit I/O Box

1. Open the amplifier box, and take out the electric circuit
2. Cut off a toggle of the volume (left side only)

3. Cut out the Thermal transfer plate of the amplifier’s box, and attached it to the audio amplifier derive IC (TA2020-020, Tripath Technology, Inc.) with screws.

4. Solder audio connectors. Following pictures show the example of a φ3.5mm stereo mini plug.

5. Solder the three terminal low dropout voltage regulator circuit.

6. Connect with 12V power line with the input of voltage regulator.
6. You can create your own box, but if you need a sample, download from here. You can use screws to tighten them up.

8. If preferable, you can paste rubber tips on the bottom side of the box (you can reuse the rubber tips of the audio amplifier you disassemble).

9. You finished to develop your TECHTILE toolkit I/O box!

Step2: The tactile vibrator

1. Disassemble a Nintendo DS Rumble pak. You may need to use a Y-shaped Screwdriver, in case you want to keep the case. You can tear off the outside package by twisting.

2. Take out the vibrator as shown.

Step3: Microphone as a haptic sensor

Here we show cone-shaped holder for the microphone.
1. Prepare 3D printed holder and a microphone (audio-technica AT9904).

2. Adhere the holder and the microphone with glue.


We developed two different softwares for workshop to general audience. This software is capable of recording, replaying, and editing Haptic data. The software is developed by Max (Cycling 74) . These softwares are Max5 and Max6 compatible.
WS_maxmsp.maxpat provides an environment to record and replay the haptic data. For experiment purpose, this software also provides several effects (frequency filter, delay, and oscillator).

This software provides several effects in replaying recorded haptic data. This version was meant to develop for kids workshop.


Haptic data
We developed an introductory toolkit for haptics study and hosted over fifty workshops worldwide. During the workshop, we collected haptic data using the TECHTILE toolkit (recorded in audio track) and a built-in camera (recorded in video track). We also uploaded these haptic data in flickr to share the touch experiences.