This paper explores the nascent concept of touch with restraint in the design of an interactive object. The design was developed to support children on the autism spectrum in social interaction and to facilitate a feeling of social connectedness. Throughout a constructive design case, the desired nature and interaction style of this interactive object emerged. An object that is characterized by touch with restraint facilitates adoption as a transitional object and mirrors passively and minimally the actions of a user. The design concept and prototype Fuzzy Bird showed the effectiveness of the concept in a user test. This strong concept contributes to the debate of how we come to live with interactive technologies, by drawing attention to the possibility of self-imposing limits on how much interactive technologies do and being respectful toward the human interactions they help facilitate.
Part of the book: Proceedings of the Conference on Design and Semantics of Form and Movement