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Issue No.02 - April-June (2014 vol.7)
pp: 181-190
Marco D'Alonzo , Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna, BioRobotics Inst., Pontedera, Italy
Strahinja Dosen , Dept. for Neurorehabilitation Eng., Georg-August Univ., Gottingen, Germany
Christian Cipriani , Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna, BioRobotics Inst., Pontedera, Italy
Dario Farina , Dept. for Neurorehabilitation Eng., Georg-August Univ., Gottingen, Germany
ABSTRACT
An important reason for the abandonment of commercial actuated hand prostheses by the users is the lack of sensory feedback. Wearable afferent interfaces capable of providing electro- or vibro-tactile stimulation have high potential to restore the missing tactile and/or proprioceptive information to the user. By definition, these devices can elicit single modality (i.e., either vibrotactile or electrotactile) substitute sensations. In a recent research we have presented a novel approach comprising hybrid vibro-electrotactile (HyVE) combined stimulation, in order to provide multimodal sensory feedback. An important advantage of this approach is in the size of the design: the HyVE interface is much more compact than two separated single-modality interfaces, since electro- and vibro-tactile stimulators are placed one on top of the other. The HyVE approach has been previously tested in healthy subjects and has shown to provide a range of hybrid stimuli that could be properly discriminated. However, this approach has never been assessed as a method to provide multi-channel stimuli, i.e., stimuli from a variety of stimulators, mapping information from a multitude of sensors on a prosthesis. In this study, the ability of ten healthy subjects to discriminate stimuli and patterns of stimuli from four different five-channel interfaces applied on their forearms was evaluated. We showed that multiple HyVE units could be used to provide multi-channel sensory information with equivalent performance (~95 percent for single stimuli and ~80 percent for pattern) to single modality interfaces (vibro- or electro-tactile) larger in size and with better performance than vibrotactile interfaces (i.e., 73 percent for single stimuli and 69 percent for pattern) with the same size. These results are promising in relation to the current availability of multi-functional prostheses with multiple sensors.
INDEX TERMS
Thumb, Electrodes, Vibrations, Prosthetics, Skin, Grasping,upper limb prosthetics, Sensory substitution, vibrotactile, electrotactile, hybrid stimulation, haptic devices, multi-channel feedback discrimination
CITATION
Marco D'Alonzo, Strahinja Dosen, Christian Cipriani, Dario Farina, "HyVE—Hybrid Vibro-Electrotactile Stimulation—Is an Efficient Approach to Multi-Channel Sensory Feedback", IEEE Transactions on Haptics, vol.7, no. 2, pp. 181-190, April-June 2014, doi:10.1109/TOH.2013.52
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