Allison Okamura and the CHARM lab at Stanford University focus on what the sense of touch can bring to robot-human interactions.
We are constantly interpreting skin-stretch sensations when interacting with the world--as friction and weight from objects and surfaces pull or push on the skin. This sensation can be used to trick the body’s tactile senses. For example, using small skin-stretching devices call "tactors," the skin on the hand can be fooled into sensing contact with an object. These small stretches can't completely replicate the feeling of holding a weighty object but can help make the experience of virtual environments more immersive.