Proceedings: GI 2015

IIS you is my digital baby: an intimate interface system for persons with disabilities

D. Fels , D. Smith , Baffa da Silva , D. Aybar , M. Whitfield

Proceedings of Graphics Interface 2015: Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, 3 - 5 June 2015, 171-178

DOI 10.20380/GI2015.22

  • Bibtex

    author = {Fels, D. and Smith, D. and da Silva, Baffa and Aybar, D. and Whitfield, M.},
    title = {IIS you is my digital baby: an intimate interface system for persons with disabilities},
    booktitle = {Proceedings of Graphics Interface 2015},
    series = {GI 2015},
    year = {2015},
    issn = {0713-5424},
    isbn = {978-1-4822-6003-8},
    location = {Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada},
    pages = {171--178},
    numpages = {8},
    doi = {10.20380/GI2015.22},
    publisher = {Canadian Human-Computer Communications Society},
    address = {Toronto, Ontario, Canada},


Virtual worlds, avatars and cybersex are becoming more commonplace and acceptable. Virtual environments such as Second Life™ allow for the construction and exploration of virtual selves or agents that are bounded only by imagination and fantasy of their participants. However, they are also informed by the attitudes, limits and agendas of the real life participants that invade these worlds. For people with disabilities, virtual environments may allow the crossing of boundaries of taboo subjects such as disability and sex, and intimate technologies. The Intimate Interface System (IIS) was designed to support and encourage intimacy and cybersex discovery for people with disabilities in an inclusive manner. It is composed of a virtual world component replete with customizable avatars, animations and sound combine with physical devices including a vibrating chair and a pressure pad. Results were derived from an initial focus group with four persons with motoric disabilities. Notions of positive and negative aspects of cybersex, such as the ability to do things in virtual life that cannot be done in real life, and spending time in virtual relationships is for people who are socially inept were found reflecting the literature. However, there were also unique viewpoints such as the desire for more realism that were brought to bear on the discussion. Reaction to IIS was generally positive, however, participants wanted more features such as temperature control and enhanced realism.