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Sparkle: hover feedback with touchable electric arcs

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conference contribution
posted on 2023-06-09, 05:30 authored by Daniel Spelmezan, Deepak Ranjan Sahoo, Sriram Subramanian
Many finger sensing input devices now support proximity input, enabling users to perform in-air gestures. While near-surface interactions increase the input vocabulary, they lack tactile feedback, making it hard for users to perform gestures or to know when the interaction takes place. Sparkle stimulates the fingertip with touchable electric arcs above a hover sensing device to give users in-air tactile or thermal feedback, sharper and more feelable than acoustic mid-air haptic devices. We present the design of a high voltage resonant transformer with a low-loss soft ferrite core and self-tuning driver circuit, with which we create electric arcs 6 mm in length, and combine this technology with infrared proximity sensing in two proof-of-concept devices with form factor and functionality similar to a button and a touchpad. We provide design guidelines for Sparkle devices and examples of stimuli in application scenarios, and report the results of a user study on the perceived sensations. Sparkle is the first step towards providing a new type of hover feedback, and it does not require users to wear tactile stimulators.


Dhaptics; g1757; ERC Proof of Concept; GA640749


Publication status

  • Published

File Version

  • Accepted version


Proceedings of the 2017 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2017); Denver, CO, USA; 6-11 May 2016


Association for Computing Machinery

Page range


Event name

CHI '17: CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems

Event location

Denver Colorado USA

Event type


Event date

May, 2017



Department affiliated with

  • Informatics Publications

Research groups affiliated with

  • Creative Technology Publications

Full text available

  • Yes

Peer reviewed?

  • Yes

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