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Issue No. 02 - April-June (2013 vol. 6)
ISSN: 1939-1412
pp: 156-166
J. C. Gwilliam , Dept. of Biomed. Eng., Johns Hopkins Univ., Baltimore, MD, USA
M. Bianchi , Interdept. Res. Center “E. Piaggio, Univ. of Pisa, Pisa, Italy
L. K. Su , Dept. of Mech. Eng., Stanford Univ., Stanford, CA, USA
A. M. Okamura , Dept. of Mech. Eng., Stanford Univ., Stanford, CA, USA
Development of tactile displays to enhance palpation of lumps during robot-assisted minimally invasive surgery is challenging due to size and weight constraints, motivating a pneumatic actuation strategy. This work describes the quantitative and psychophysical assessment of an air-jet tactile display that creates a lump percept by directing pressurized air through an aperture onto the finger. The air pressure and aperture size are meant to control the hardness and size, respectively, of the perceived lump. Jet impingement pressure and flow rate were measured by capacitive tactile sensors and mass flow meters at varying aperture sizes and pressures. The air-jet pressure profile width evolves as jet theory predicts and is largely independent of supply pressure (and therefore jet exit velocity). The method of constant stimuli was used to determine the just noticeable differences (JNDs) for the air pressure and aperture size. Qualitative results indicate that subjects perceive the stimulus as a “lump-like” shape. Pressure JNDs ranged from 19.6-24.4 kPag and aperture size JNDs ranged from 0.50-0.66 mm. No significant correlation exists between the supply pressure and changes in perceived lump size. However, pressure JNDs show significant (p<; 0.001) inverse correlation with aperture size, with improved discrimination at larger apertures, where a greater finger pad area is stimulated.
Apertures, Tactile sensors, Sensor arrays, Pressure measurement, Surgery, Size measurement

J. C. Gwilliam, M. Bianchi, L. K. Su and A. M. Okamura, "Characterization and Psychophysical Studies of an Air-Jet Lump Display," in IEEE Transactions on Haptics, vol. 6, no. 2, pp. 156-166, 2013.
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