Several methods were tested to deliver a message through tactile communication. They tested mechanical pins which pressed against the skin but realized it was too hard to distinguish between a short and long press. Electro-tactile actuators were also tested, they found that the strength of the sensation varied a lot depending on how moist the skin was. Ultimately vibrotactile actuators were chosen since they delivered the best and most stable effect.

The early prototypes consisted of two parts, the electronics, and the wristband. These parts required a wire to run between them. You had to put the wire through your sleeve and keep the electronics in your jacket pocket. Peter and Ante found that it was surprisingly easy to decode vibration signals from the wristband. The prototype seen in the picture worked so well that they decided to start the Xtactor company and make tactile communication available to everyone!

After having started the company in 2018 they have collaborated with Göran Nordahl at Lohmega to fit all electronic components on a small PCB (printed circuit board) suitable for a wristband. They have also collaborated with Gunne Ekelin at Pinjong for a nice and functional design of the wristband. As an Associate Professor at the Department of Computer and Systems Sciences at Stockholm University, Peter Idestam-Almquist has recruited the best students from the department to develop a full fledge mobile app replacing his own prototype code.

Now, in the early autumn of 2019, the first full version of the Xtactor smart wristband and associated mobile app is ready!