Conference 5–9 August 2012
Exhibition 7–9 August 2012
Los Angeles Convention Center

Chilly Chair: Facilitating an Emotional Feeling With Artificial Piloerection

Los Angeles Convention Center, Concourse Foyer

There have been many attempts to add haptic stimulation to music, games, and movies. Chilly Chair is a novel approach to enriching the quality of these experiences by enhancing the emotions evoked by the content.

The project focuses on piloerection, a kind of involuntary emotional reaction. According to James Lange, emotional feeling is experienced as a result of physiological changes induced by the autonomic nervous system. Some neuroscientists also propose that emotional feeling is evoked by the insula cortex, which represents particular bodily reactions such as the sensations of butterflies in the stomach and goose bumps. Chilly Chair goes beyond emotional “reactions” to function as an emotional “input” that enhances the emotion itself.

The prototype device uses and electrostatic force to raise back and forearm hair. The chair measures the skin conductance reaction, which is known to vary with the activation of the sympathetic nervous system, and controls the piloerection accordingly. Psychophysical experiments confirm that this piloerection system enhances feelings of surprise. The Chilly Chair can be applied not only to audio-visual entertainment, but also to non-computational entertainment such as reading books and dreaming while asleep.

Shogo Fukushima
The University of Electro-Communications

Hiroyuki Kajimoto
The University of Electro-Communications