Interview with journalist on the Social Softness Illusion (SSI)

Laura Tedesco, a freelance science journalist, interviewed me over the phone last month about a new piece of research just published on the so-called Social Softness Illusion. The article got published with the title Why Your Significant Other’s Skin Feels So Soft (But May Not Actually Be) on Yahoo Health. I had talked to Laura about... Continue Reading →

‘Intimate Listening’: paper for Emotional Geographies conference 2015

Katy Bennet from the University of Leicester approached me months ago to speak at the 'Emotional Geographies' conference in Edinburgh in June. I went to the first ever Emotional Geographies conference in Lancaster back in 2003, and Katy's session is about Listening, so I said yes. It was an opportunity to work on some of... Continue Reading →

The Tongue Display Unit (TDU) at UPMC: seeing with the tongue?

Courtesy of staff at University of Pittsburgh's Medical Center (UPMC), in September 2013 I was invited to the Sensory Substitution Lab to do something that I have wanted to do for years: have a hands-on experience with a device that I have written about. WICAB's 'BrainPort' is a 'sensory substitution' device that translates a visual feed from a camera... Continue Reading →

‘Reading with the fingers. Blindness, sensory substitution, and the possibilities for tactile communication’

After a call for papers for a special issue 'Sensorium Commune' of the journal Communications, edited by Marie-Luce Girard and Olivier Sorost, I didn't realize what a fascinating journal it was. Not a straightforward 'communications' journal in the American sense, it was set up by Roland Barthes and others in France in the 1960s. Some... Continue Reading →

Alphonso Lingis on Merleau-Ponty: consciousness as movement-directed

A special issue of the rather fantastic Mosaic: a journal for the interdisciplinary study of literature [disclosure: I have an article coming out in the next issue] devoted to Alphonso Lingis has material including an interview a short original article, and the text of a public address. The article, 'The Weight of Reality', has his usual mixture of... Continue Reading →

How to search for things and distinguish objects if you’re a robot.

Two separate but related intriguing new touch technologies for robots from Georgia Tech has some intriguing implications. The first being Charlie Kemp's development of a form of tactile sensing for robotic arms (Kemp was supervised by the world-famous Aussie roboticist Rodney Brookes). Reported in the New York Times (here) and elsewhere, searching in cluttered places for... Continue Reading →

‘Touching Space, Placing Touch’ book: more details

It would be remiss not to include more details on the actual contents, you know... so a table of contents, and the flyer (PDF) from the publisher: Contents Introduction: placing touch within social theory and empirical study - Mark Paterson, Martin Dodge and Sara MacKian 1. Negotiating therapeutic touch: encountering massage through the ‘mixed bodies’ of Michel... Continue Reading →

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