Skip to main content

Connecting Bodies: Designing Shape-changing Wearables to Improve Remote Body-based Communication

November 2023 – October 2025

The aim of this project is to explore and assess the potential of novel shape-changing wearables to improve body-based communication. These technologies hold promise because they can be worn on the body and provide tangible, haptic actuation that can emulate qualities of collocated physical interaction, as well as open up novel interactive qualities altogether. A key concept that the project addresses is that of connecting bodies. I will explore how the interactive qualities of shape-changing wearables can be designed and used to foster a somatic connection between bodies, e.g., bridging together actions, perceptions and emotions from one body to another in a way that they are felt by the person, rather than just narrated. I envision that fostering this felt connection can, in turn, create richer, more effective and affective body-based communication.

The digitalization of society, as well as recent global health developments (i.e. the COVID-19 pandemic), have fostered a shift from face-to-face, collocated interactions to remote communications. Communicating over video-mediated online platforms and conferencing software is becoming pervasive, shaping our everyday lives, practices, and how we interact with each other. Yet, these solutions do not adequately support settings where body-based interaction and physical contact are critical for effective, affective and rich communication, for example, remote health practices (e.g. remote physiotherapy) or affective well-being settings (e.g. long-distance relationships).

About the Digital Futures Postdoc Fellow
Laia Turmo Vidal is an interaction design researcher. Her research focuses on the design, development and evaluation of multi-sensory technologies that enrich the aesthetic perception of the body as a way to promote rich physical, emotional, and social experiences. Her research targets domains of health and wellbeing such as sports, fitness, rehabilitation and dance. Her research interests include wearable technology, material explorations, social cooperation and design methods development.

Laia holds a PhD and an MSc in Human-Computer Interaction from Uppsala University (Sweden) and a BDes in Multimedia Technologies from Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (Spain). Prior to KTH, she was a postdoctoral researcher at i_mBODY Lab at the University Carlos III de Madrid (Spain). She has also been a research intern at UCL Interaction Center (UK) and a research visitor at the University of California, Santa Cruz (USA).

Main supervisor
Kristina Höök, Professor, Division of Media Technology and Interaction Design, KTH

Georgios Andrikopoulos, Assistant Professor at the School of Industrial Engineering and Management, KTH


Laia Turmo Vidal

Digital Futures Postdoctoral Fellow, PhD in Human Computer Interaction at KTH, Postdoc project: Connecting Bodies: Designing Shape-changing Wearables to Improve Remote Body-based Communication
Picture of Kristina Höök

Kristina Höök

Professor, Division of Media Technology and Interaction design at KTH, Digital Futures fellow, Former Main supervisor: Foreignness as a conceptual framework for interaction design, Digital Futures Faculty

Georgios Andrikopoulos

Assistant Professor at KTH ITM , Co-PI: Real-time exoskeleton control for human-in-the-loop optimization, Digital Futures Faculty

+46 8 790 63 31