at chi2007 i saw a wonderful talk presenting a neat tangible interface, the Tug N' Talk belt. here's the abstract:
Tug n’ Talk is a prototype of a tuggable communication device, allowing for
intimate communication between two individuals using tugging as a metaphor. In this paper we discuss the advantages of tugging over other haptic communication modalities, such as vibration,with a focus on input/output spaces and meaning construction.
the basic idea is that you and i are wearing virtually attached tuggable belts. each belt has a small chain attached to it. if i tug my chain, then you feel that same tug. harder tugs on my side translate to harder tugs on your side. no more using my cell phone or kicking you under the table -- i can tug you. here's two pics from the paper:
anyway, at the end of the talk a person stated that they can barely stand tugs from their children, and they aren't sure if tugs from their husband would be appropriate. so they said that while they thought this was cool, it seemed more art than practical. the presenter quite brilliantly responded
"do you let just anyone vibrate you?"
and this got a huge laugh but it's so true. we let people vibrate us all the time. the vibrating phone has become the norm. and so why not other mechanisms?