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Issue No.03 - July-September (2010 vol.3)
pp: 177-188
Brian T. Gleeson , University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT
Scott K. Horschel , University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT
William R. Provancher , University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT
A variety of tasks could benefit from the availability of direction cues that do not rely on vision or sound. The application of tangential skin displacement at the fingertip has been found to be a reliable means of communicating direction and has potential to be rendered by a compact device. Our lab has conducted experiments exploring the use of this type of tactile stimulus to communicate direction. Each subject pressed his/her right index fingertip against a 7 mm rounded rubber cylinder that moved at constant speed, applying shear force to deform the skin of the fingerpad. A range of displacements (0.05-1 mm) and speeds (0.5-4 mm/s) were tested. Subjects were asked to respond with the direction of the skin stretch, choosing from four directions, each separated by 90 degrees. Direction detection accuracy was found to depend upon both the speed and total displacement of the stimulus, with higher speeds and larger displacements resulting in greater accuracy. Accuracy rates greater than 95 percent were observed with as little as 0.2 mm of tangential displacement and at speeds as slow as 1 mm/s. Results were analyzed for direction dependence and temporal trends. Subjects responded most accurately to stimuli in the proximal and distal directions, and least accurately to stimuli in the ulnar direction. Subject performance decreased slightly with prolonged testing but there was no statistically significant learning trend. A second experiment was conducted to evaluate priming effects and the benefit of repeated stimuli. It was found that repeated stimuli do not improve direction communication, but subject responses were found to have a priming effect on future performance. This preliminary information will inform the design and use of a tactile display suitable for use in hand-held electronics.
Human information processing, haptic I/O, tactile feedback, lateral skin stretch, tangential skin displacement and deformation, response priming.
Brian T. Gleeson, Scott K. Horschel, William R. Provancher, "Perception of Direction for Applied Tangential Skin Displacement: Effects of Speed, Displacement, and Repetition", IEEE Transactions on Haptics, vol.3, no. 3, pp. 177-188, July-September 2010, doi:10.1109/TOH.2010.20
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