The purpose of this experiment is to explore and develop a classification system for “touch” through the documentation of hand motions.

This project started with documentation about how my hands interacted with my surroundings in my daily life. I selected one hundred pictures representing the main motions. They were named after different verbs that described each of the movements.

Problem Discovery

I discovered that many hand motions could only be expressed in limited number of verbs. Body language is so much diverse than verbal communication.

Taxonomy of Touch

The Taxonomy of Touch consists of three components: Hand Motions, Hand Motion Intensity, and the Contact Surface. Hand motions consist of twenty-five verbs. They are named by the first letter of each verb or the combination of the first letter and another letter. Hand motion intensity is divided into three categories - Light, Moderate and Strong - and named with L, M, and S accordingly. The contact surface is coded by numbers, based on the specific area of the skin surface which is contacted when hands touch an object, such as fingers, fingertips, palms, and backs of hands. 

Category A: Hand motions

1. Hold (H) 2. Press (Pr) 3. Pinch (Pi) 4. Lift (L)
5. Pull (Pl) 6. Drag (Dr) 7. Type (Ty) 8. Squeeze (Sq) 9. Tap (Ta) 10. Grasp (Gp) 11. Swipe (Sw) 12. Twist (Tw) 13. Scoop (Sc) 14. Carry (C) 15. Wipe (Wi)16. Scratch (St) 17. Push (Ps) 18. Pet (Pe) 19. Pick (Pk) 20. Grab (Gb) 21. Write (Wr) 22. Dip (Di) 23. Rub (Rb)  24. Pat (Pa)  25. Flick (F)  

Category B: Hand Motion Intensity

1. Light (L)
2. Moderate (M)
3. Strong (S)

Category C: Contact Surface

1. One Finger (1)
2. Two Fingers (2)
3. Three Fingers (3)
4. Four Fingers (4)
5. Five Fingers (5)
6. Fingertips (6)
7. Fingertips and nails (7)
8. Palm (8)
9. Fingers and Palm (9)
10. Back of hand (0)

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