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Ecotiles are a floor interface simulates different types of ground through sonic and vibrational feedback. The vibrating actuators attached to the tiles respond with different signals, depending on the movement and the pressure of the body. These vibrations, at the same time activated and sensed by the feet, appear to lend new material qualities to the floor. For example, the wooden tiles can feel as a squishy snow surface. This allows for new kinds of experiences, such as walking on the ground that morphs under ones feet from soft sand surface to a cracking wooden floor.

Thus, the interaction with Ecotiles is a process of active discovery, in which the perception of material reality can be continuously challenged, changed, adapted and reinvented. The vibrations turn the tiles into a responsive and dense matter, which becomes a different material only when being acted upon, making the simulated experience appear natural, situated and intuitive. Thus, sound moulds and affects the way a person acts and the other way round – person’s actions generate different kinds of ground feedback. This ecological coupling between interactive feedback and a person is apparent in the the name of the device, Ecotiles, referencing J.J. Gibson’s ecological approach to perception.

Currently, we are explroing the possibility of the interface in movement rehabiliation and dance contexts.

J. Cooperstock, Y. Visell, A. Law, K. Franinović. Floor-Based Haptic Communication System. US9041521 B2. 2015. Available at:

Project lead: Karmen Franinović

Researcher: Moritz Kemper

Collaborators: Yon Visell

Funding: European Comission (CLOSED project) and ZHdK (Moduloc: Modulating Human Locomotion project)

Forschung 2007