Phantom Touch in VR Research
A Research that brings touch to the virtual world
Phantom Touch in VR
Phantom Touch in VR is an artificially induced VR experience where a person can feel interpersonal touch without any physical interaction or haptic devices. It is a brain trick which allows these phantom sensations to seem real.

This research focuses on studying what causes this phenomena to occur , as well as develop a method for anyone to generate Phantom Touch.

Phantom Touch has the potential to make an impact on social virtual environments, where people can hug their friends, family or a loved one. Even when miles apart, individuals connect and bond with one another, creating sensations of touch similar to the ones in real life.
Moreover, Phantom Touch can also be used in medical care - improving patient's wellbeing, benefiting mental health, elderly care and more.

This research has already laid foundation between 2021-2022. You can find out more about Sasha Alexdottir's latest work on Phantom Touch research here

Potential Applications
Phantom Touch in VR can be used in a number of different fields to benefit mankind.
  • Rehabilitation
    Phantom Touch can have a great impact in the rehabilitation field - not only for improving the environment for those who are unwell, but to enhance recovery, both mental and physical.
  • VR Gaming
    Horror games, action based RPG, adventure, Sci-Fi games: Phantom Touch can increase gaming user experience - providing new sensations for different game genres.
  • Mental Health
    Phantom Touch can provide new possibilities for mental health improvement in virtual reality. Aiding with trauma, depression, stress, anxiety and other mental distresses.
  • Medical Care
    Phantom Touch can be implemented in medical care to support patients in pre operation and post operation process. Phantom Touch can also aid in socializing and improving hospital environment, especially if patients have to be in hospital for a long period of time.
  • Social VR Setting
    With the growing use of VR for socializing, Phantom Touch can help in making stronger bonds and relations with those we meet in the Metaverse - whether its friendships, relationships or communicating with loved ones who are physically far away.
  • Relationships and Dating
    Phantom Touch in VR can bring a new and improved experience to online dating and long distance relationships. Couples will be able to have intimacy and touch while in a virtual world, strengthening their bond and have new adventures virtually.
Research Lead
  • Sasha Alexdottir
    Research Lead
    Sasha Alexdottir is the Research Lead of the Phantom Touch in VR project. In 2022 she has graduated from her Bachelor's Degree in Computer Animation: Art and Design with a First Class Honours.

    She is currently doing her PhD with the research title "Phantom Touch phenomenon as a manifestation of the Visual-Auditory-Tactile Synaesthesia and its impact on the users in virtual reality".

    Her interests lay in VR pseudo haptics and synaesthesia. She is passionate about promoting virtual reality to aid in rehabilitation, health care, and mental health, as well as improving virtual social communities.

    You can contact Sasha Alexdottir directly via email:
Meet the Team
Meet the team working on the Phantom Touch in VR Research
  • Xiaosong Yang
    Dr. Yang is an Associate Professor at the National Centre for Computer Animation, Bournemouth University. He has produced more than 80 peer reviewed publications. He has supervised 12 Ph.D students. He has given several invited talks and keynote presentations internationally.
  • Sasha Alexdottir
    Research Lead
    Sasha Alexdottir is the founder of the Phantom Touch in VR research. She has completed her Bachelor's degree in 2022 with First Class Honours at Bournemouth University. Now she is a PhD student studying the Phantom Touch phenomena. She is passionate about VR and its abilities to benefit mankind.
  • Zhidong Xiao
    Dr. Xiao is Principal Academic in Computer Animation faculty at Bournemouth University. His research interests include: motion capture, motion synthesis, physics-based simulation, machine learning and virtual reality. Dr. Xiao is also Fellow of Higher Education Academy.
  • Xun He
    Dr He is the Head of Multimodal Immersive NEuro-sensing (MINE) Research Cluster and Head of Bournemouth EEG Lab. He is a social neuroscientist and an experimental psychologist, interested in social attention and social perception. He supervises and advices the psychological side in the VR research.
Advisory Board
Our Advisory Board members provide their expertise in different aspects related to the Research
  • Wayne Acris
    Medical Advisor
    A Head Biomedical Scientist and IT Manager for 25 years. Wayne is a specialist in the field of Biochemistry and Medical Biochemistry. He is passionate in transforming science and technology safely providing the users with the appropriate scientific support and technological tools.
  • Dr. Keith Gracia
    Medical and Neurological Advisor
    Keith is an experienced neurology registrar trained at St. George's hospital. His main areas of expertise is stroke and headache. Keith is currently working with UCLH (University College London Hospitals) as leason capacity in Gibraltar and teaching NCHDs. He is a Chief Medical Officer for GFA and one of the Royal Gibraltar Police Forensic Medical Examiner.
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    If you are interested in our research - please feel free to drop us a line!
    Bournemouth University, United Kingdom