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Research Papers

The Impact of Simultaneously Applying Normal Stress and Vibrotactile Stimulation for Feedback of Exteroceptive Information

[+] Author and Article Information
M. Reza Motamedi

Department of Automated Production
Engineering,
Control and Robotics Laboratory (CoRo),
École de Technologie Supérieure (ÉTS),
Montréal, QC H3C 1K3, Canada
e-mail: mohammadreza.motamedi.1@ens.etsmtl.ca

Martin Otis

Department of Applied Science,
REPARTI Center,
University of Québec at Chicoutimi,
Saguenay, QC G7H 2B1, Canada
e-mail: martin_otis@uqac.ca

Vincent Duchaine

Department of Automated Production
Engineering,
Control and Robotics Laboratory (CoRo),
École de Technologie Supérieure (ÉTS),
Montréal, QC H3C 1K3, Canada
e-mail: vincent.duchaine@etsmtl.ca

Manuscript received November 20, 2016; final manuscript received March 29, 2017; published online April 24, 2017. Assoc. Editor: Guy M. Genin.

J Biomech Eng 139(6), 061004 (Apr 24, 2017) (9 pages) Paper No: BIO-16-1469; doi: 10.1115/1.4036417 History: Received November 20, 2016; Revised March 29, 2017

Commercially available prosthetic hands do not convey any tactile information, forcing amputees to rely solely on visual attention. A promising solution to this problem is haptics, which could lead to new prostheses in which tactile information is conveyed between the amputee and the artificial limb. However, the haptic feedback must be optimized so that amputees can use it effectively; and although several studies have examined how specific haptic feedback systems can transmit certain types of tactile information, there has not yet been much research on the effects of superposing two or more types of feedback at the same location, which might prove to be more effective than using a single type of feedback alone. This paper investigates how the simultaneous application of two different types of haptic feedback—vibration and normal stress—impacts the human sensory perception of each separate feedback type. These stimuli were applied to glabrous skin on the forearms of 14 participants. Our experiments tested whether participants experienced more accurate sensory perception, compared to vibration or normal stress alone, when vibration was applied at the same time as the normal stress, at either the same location, or at a different location 6 cm away. Results indicate that although participants' perception of the normal stress diminished when vibration was applied at the same location, the same combination improved their perception of the vibration. Apparently, vibration has a negative impact upon the ability to perceive normal stress, whether applied at the same or a different location; whereas the opposite is true for the effect of normal stress upon the perception of vibration.

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References

Figures

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Fig. 1

Haptic interface used for applying normal stress and linear vibration on the human participants. Vib 1 refers to the first vibrator motor, which is at the same location as the piston. Vib 2 refers to the second vibrator motor, which was used to apply vibrations at a location 6 cm away from the normal stress.

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Fig. 2

Vibrator motor performance characteristics. The three input voltages of 1.6 V, 2.6 V, and 3.6 V were delivered into the cylindrical vibrator motor.

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Fig. 3

Method of stimulating the normal stress and the vibration onto the participant's forearm. Measurements in mm describe the piston's displacement from its original position.

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Fig. 4

Feedback from one participant during the last 20 s of each test

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Fig. 5

Participants' feedback under three types of normal stress stimuli (P, PV1, and PV2). The columns indicate the mean, the bars with horizontal lines on top indicate the absolute error, and circles indicate the median across all tests.

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Fig. 6

Participants' feedback under three types of vibrotactile stimuli (V, VP1, and VP2). The columns indicate the mean, the bars with horizontal lines on top indicate the absolute error, and circles indicate the median across all tests.

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Fig. 7

Static analysis of the Manhattan norm versus variance under different conditions. The first row refers to the normal stress stimuli from 2.8 N to 8.4 N, and the second row refers to the vibrotactile stimuli from 1.6 V to 3.6 V. The large rectangles, triangles, and circles indicate the average results for the feedback from all 14 participants. The significant difference of the averages can be found in Tables 2 and 4; in P-values as well as F-values.

Tables

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