The Games

'Palm Reading', conceived by Tim Hunkin and Sarah Angliss, 2005, © Tim Hunkin


Touch Me includes games designed to tell people about the components of their touch sense. These are ones that you can replicate where you are.

Feel the Fake

We chose pairs of objects in a natural material and an artificial substitute. Our examples included granite and 'granite look' Formica laminate and some brass front door numbers and brass-effect plastic substitutes. Locate similar pairs of things around the house or workplace and try to distinguish them by touch alone. You will learn that we rely on using our senses together, and that information about the appearance, smell and sounds things make when touched are important too.

Haptic Glancing

We placed an unfamiliar but identifiable object in a cavity and asked people to reach in and feel it to discover what it was. Try this with the object placed in a bag. Allow people just a second or so to feel the object. In the exhibition, visitors could see how people used methodical stroking and gripping actions to learn more about it.

Palm Reading

Blindfold a partner and ask them to hold out their palm open upwards. Select a suitable object (we used a nailbrush and a toy Dalek among other things). Then perform the following actions, allowing your partner to guess the object at each stage:

1. Gently place the object onto the palm, then remove
2. Stroke the object across the palm
3. Hold the object still and ask your partner to stroke it with their flat palm
4. Finally allow your partner to close their palm around the object

It is hard to guess the object using passive touch alone (stage 1). Moving it helps (stage 2). But active touch, where the person moves in relation to the object (stage 3), or controls the manipulation (stage 4), is best.