The Practical Semiotics Blog

Touchy Technology

We've been talking to brands and creative colleagues about the cultural importance of Tactility since forever.

But now the stakes are higher- we're missing the powerful sense of engagement with the world and with each other like never before, and culture is responding in all sorts of ways.

Here are some developments in 'Tech-Tactility' that we think you'll like.


The E-Rosary

The e-rosary, click to pray

The E-Rosary is a 'Click to Pray' device, in highly touchable agate and brushed steel, that allows you to not only connect with God, but to join other worshippers in a guided prayer-session.

Why is it culturally important?
Popular culture increasingly keeps Religious Faith and Technology strictly separated. (Compare agnostic Einstein with hyper-atheist Elon Musk). So this is a move in a new direction: bringing tactility, faith and technology together in one graspable object.

Virtual Cuddling

Virtual cuddlers

Professional cuddling has been big for a couple of years now, and it's not confined to the spiritually wilder shores of the USA. You can hire a professionally-accredited cuddle anywhere from Brighton to Hull.

The cuddling community isn't letting the pandemic get in the way of all important human contact- you can now hire an hour-long hug over the internet.

Why is it culturally important?
All our cultural prejudices tell us that 'there's no substitution for actual human contact'. But the pandemic has shown us that this isn't necessarily true. We're starting to see that physical distance can actually be an *encouragement* to greater openness and intimacy between strangers. 'Closeness' isn't what it used to be…

One for the bookshelf

The eyes of the skin by Juhani Pallasmaa

This book's been around for twenty years, but it's full of fascinating insights into how modern design and architecture has downgraded the importance of touch.

Brands are (slowly, slowly) starting to understand the importance of 'the experiential'- here's a chance to really show them what they're up against.

Why is it culturally important?
It's a key book on the shelf of every architect, urban planner and social psychologist. There's a fair amount of theory and philosopher-quoting, but it's full of meaty stuff for anyone involved in product innovation and understanding consumer experience.

Thanks so much for reading.

More next month,

Rob, Soma and Michael