T² Tool Kit: A Tangible Telepresence Concept Framework


© 2020 Liang Zhipeng. All rights reserved.

Liang Zhipeng


T² Tool Kit: 

A Tangible Telepresence (T²) Concept Framework

aiming at  Future Human Diaspora


© 2020 Liang Zhipeng. All rights reserved.

Human history is a story of Diaspora; we explore this concept while expanding into unknown areas.

As a social species, we use our best technologies keeping people connected, while exploration unavoidably increases our physical distance.  All inventions that enabled long distance communication have played an critical role during the development of all communities, despite cultural differences.

Token, Letter, Telephone, Video Call, Zoom ... We see an expansion of distance and bandwidth with decreasing transmission time. In the last decades, companies that contributed to the invention of new paradigms in these areas have left remarkable impacts on human history.

We think Tangible Telepresence (T²) will be the next game changer.

Hereby we want to set up a framework to kick off the change and find visionary companies to fill in the gaps together, and thus create the future of tele-communication.

It has 4 components: Philosophy,  Device,  Language,  and Tangible Turing Test

Many ongoing and future research will fit into the roadmap.

For more information. Please feel free to contact  Liang Zhipeng


Past Member
Person People
Zhipeng Liang
Former Research Assistant
Past Member
Person People
Ken Nakagaki
Former Research Assistant
Person People
Hiroshi Ishii
Jerome B. Wiesner Professor of Media Arts and Sciences; Associate Director, MIT Media Lab


© 2020 Liang Zhipeng. All rights reserved.


What is it for? The legendary Tangible Bits and Radical Atoms. 

What is the other side of Information Communication?

As a result of Human Motility, Exploration is one major theme of human evolution.

Tele-communication and information storage technology enabled us to stay connected while physically or chronically separated.

But due to technology limit, we adapt to reduced bandwidth while resisting it.

Wave based communication channels like Audio and Visual are naturally tele-communicational. Even Smell and Taste can be transported over space and time via chemicals and recipe.

Tangibility, a Force-Based channel is naturally close-range. In comparison, the “telerization” of Tangibility didn’t have enough attention in tech development, despite its essential role for human communication.

What if we can record, store, and transmit Tangibility?

What's the potential social change it can bring?


© 2020 Liang Zhipeng. All rights reserved.


Temporal, Tactile, Kinesthetic, Proprioception, Pain, Visceral...

Tangibility is complicated from neural perspective. But its I/O signals can be generalized into Thermo and Mechano.

A group of inter-connected Thermo and Mechano - Sensors / Actuators will assemble together becoming a sheet form interface.

Ultimate goal is to create a fabric-like sensor + actuator network, with both input and output of shape, force field and temperature.

There will be also a software to facilitate the encoding and decoding of transmission.

How about sending your friend the feeling of Beach Breeze?


© 2020 Liang Zhipeng. All rights reserved.


Every interface needs a protocol to communicate.

A new language is necessary for a new interface. Tangible signal is not meant to replace other input / output channels. It will add to others like audio and visual, at the same time offering new possibilities, as T² device can operate over Space and Time.

We don’t know the temperature of the water just by touching it, but we are aware when it’s too hot.

Due to the Epistemic Circularity of Cognition, it’s unrealistic to quantify a simple behavior like “hug”, but as we understand “hug” through experiencing it, we know how to do it without quantification.

With consideration of the philosophy of Phenomenology, language design for T² interface will follow this path of real-life tangibility experience. It will rely on the process of using it.

What is a Handshake?

How about Touch-moji?


© 2020 Liang Zhipeng. All rights reserved.

Tangible Turing Test

Eventually, the whole system will be evaluated with a Tangible Turing Test.

A human tester will be asked to distinguish the difference between a T² device and a real human tangible signal.

Unlike the test for AI, Tangible Turing Test will be evaluating both tangible hardware interface and the communication language(protocol).

The T² interface will be considered as “Human-Level” when the tester cannot tell the difference.

T² interface can possibly accomplish more than “Human-Level” as it can embed more sensory modalities, while having the ability to transmit over space and time.

You know it's me, even it was not really me.

For more information and preview of working prototypes. Please feel free to contact  Liang Zhipeng , or join the Workshop we host: Tangible Telepresence