wavEMS: Improving Signal Variation Freedom of Electrical Muscle Stimulation

Michinari Kono, Jun Rekimoto

There has been a long history in electrical muscle stimulation (EMS), which has been used for medical and interaction purposes. Human-computer interaction (HCI) researchers are now working on various applications, including virtual reality (VR), notification, and learning. For the electric signals applied to the human body, various types of waveforms have been considered and tested. In typical applications, pulses with short duration are applied, however, many perspectives are required to be considered. In addition to the duration and polarity of the pulse/waves, the wave shapes can also be an essential factor to consider. A problem of conventional EMS toolkits and systems are that they have a limitation to the variety of signals that it can produce. For example, some may be limited to monophonic pulses. Furthermore, they are usually limited to rectangular pulses and a limited range of frequencies, and other waveforms cannot be produced. These kinds of limitations make us challenging to consider variations of EMS signals in HCI research and applications. The purpose of "{\it wavEMS}" is to encourage testing of a variety of waveforms for EMS, which can be manipulated through audio output. We believe that this can help improve HCI applications, and to open up new application areas.

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