The phenomenon powering WEFT, electrostatic vibration, (also called "electrovibration") works similarly to how a static-clinging balloon sticks to your hair: a voltage potential on one side (the balloon's surface) physically attracts an uncharged area on another side (your hairs). In electrovibration, our circuit builds up the sticking-charge on a pad and then dissipates it, repeating the cycle hundreds of times per second—so as you run your finger along the pad you feel your finger sticking and slipping against the pad.
Because electrovibration works by a physical adhesive force, rather than by using electricity to directly stimulate your finger's nerves, it's inherently safer and more pleasant than technologies like TENS.
There's powerful potential in the use of electrovibration technology to summarize your phone's notifications into a texture, allowing you to "check my messages" by touch alone, without having to take focus away from the real world. We're in the Futureworks NYC incubator program, feverishly working to develop this idea into a workable business—wish us luck!
We firmly believe that the best technologies are the ones that work to keep us engaged with each other, rather than just focused on ourselves. The WEFT wearable concept emerged out of several months of intensive research surrounding Social Wearables—that is, wearable devices that don't steal focus (like a smartwatch) or simply exist to record data (like a step-counter)...Social Wearables are more like a pin or patch you'd wear, telegraphing your interests and helping foster better conversations with the people you encounter every day.
We know that we can't think of all the possible applications for electrovibration ourselves, so we are working to develop a simple development board for hobbyists, UX/UI prototypers, and the like. By providing a pre-assembled, hackable module with the "hard stuff" (high voltage circuitry, feedback system) already done, many more projects can add electrovibration to their core functionalities without nearly the effort it currently takes. To learn more about the dev board and be notified when we're in production, reach out using the button below!