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Mental Rotation of Tactile Stimuli: Using Directional Haptic Cues in Mobile Devices
July-Sept. 2013 (vol. 6 no. 3)
pp. 330-339
B. T. Gleeson, Dept. of Comput. Sci., Univ. of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
W. R. Provancher, Dept. of Mech. Eng., Univ. of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, USA
Haptic interfaces have the potential to enrich users' interactions with mobile devices and convey information without burdening the user's visual or auditory attention. Haptic stimuli with directional content, for example, navigational cues, may be difficult to use in handheld applications; the user's hand, where the cues are delivered, may not be aligned with the world, where the cues are to be interpreted. In such a case, the user would be required to mentally transform the stimuli between different reference frames. We examine the mental rotation of directional haptic stimuli in three experiments, investigating: 1) users' intuitive interpretation of rotated stimuli, 2) mental rotation of haptic stimuli about a single axis, and 3) rotation about multiple axes and the effects of specific hand poses and joint rotations. We conclude that directional haptic stimuli are suitable for use in mobile applications, although users do not naturally interpret rotated stimuli in any one universal way. We find evidence of cognitive processes involving the rotation of analog, spatial representations and discuss how our results fit into the larger body of mental rotation research. For small angles (e.g., less than 40 degree), these mental rotations come at little cost, but rotations with larger misalignment angles impact user performance. When considering the design of a handheld haptic device, our results indicate that hand pose must be carefully considered, as certain poses increase the difficulty of stimulus interpretation. Generally, all tested joint rotations impact task difficulty, but finger flexion and wrist rotation interact to greatly increase the cost of stimulus interpretation; such hand poses should be avoided when designing a haptic interface.
Index Terms:
Haptic interfaces,Thumb,Skin,Visualization,Mobile handsets,Indexes,skin stretch,Human information processing,haptic I/O,mental rotation,tactile direction cues,haptics
Citation:
B. T. Gleeson, W. R. Provancher, "Mental Rotation of Tactile Stimuli: Using Directional Haptic Cues in Mobile Devices," IEEE Transactions on Haptics, vol. 6, no. 3, pp. 330-339, July-Sept. 2013, doi:10.1109/TOH.2013.5
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