Skip to Content

Allen Samuels Proposes Virtual Experiences for Pandemic Patients

Samels haptic
Image courtesy of Allen Samuels 

Allen Samuels, industrial designer and Stamps School Emeritus Professor and Dean, has designed a virtual experience for use in hospital settings. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, people are dying alone without the bedside comfort of their friends and family,” Samuels said. My design proposes virtual interactions that go beyond video chats via cell phones and electronic tablets.” 

Samuels proposes a mobile, electronic wall that can be rolled into a patient’s room to deliver full-scale, real-time color video of friends and family. These video transmissions are paired with a haptic feature that invites a patient to place a hand into a void in the wall where a soft, warm, and kinetic shape close to the shape of a hand is located. 

The device enables a patient to feel what they would feel if holding a person’s hand,” Samuels said. This proposal offers a device that can facilitate kindness, compassion, and connection during no contact’ scenarios. Nobody should have to die alone.” 

I am seeking a collaboration that could assess, refine and further develop the design resulting in prototypes that could be used and tested for viability,” Samuels said.

For those interested in more information and details, please contact Allen Samuels, allenall@​umich.​edu