Wearable Dual-Frequency Vibrotactile System for Restoring Force and Stiffness Perception

Timothee Gathmann, S. Farokh Atashzar, Patrick G.Sagastegui Alva, Dario Farina

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Recently, there has been substantial progress in the mechatronic design and myoelectric control of active prostheses. However, a significant unmet need is the lack of sensory feedback in commercial prostheses for upper-limb amputees. The lack of sensory perception impacts on the control performance and embodiment, determining relatively high rejection rates. Previous research has been conducted to evaluate various non-invasive substitutional sensory channels, mainly to regenerate haptic perception. However, providing sensory channels for stiffness perception has been much less explored. In this short paper, we propose a non-invasive wearable sensory armband, named vibrotactile frequency modulation (V-FM) system. Using the V-FM, we implement a closed-loop myocontrol system with force and stiffness perception. A user study was conducted based on a repetitive two-forced alternative choice discrimination test in six able-bodied participants. The study was designed according to the method of constant stimuli. Results showed that using the V-FM armband, the participants recovered sensation comparable (in terms of difference threshold) to the natural stiffness perception. This demonstrated the potential of the proposed V-FM armband in restoring haptic and stiffness perception non-invasively.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number8967130
Pages (from-to)191-196
Number of pages6
JournalIEEE Transactions on Haptics
Volume13
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020

Keywords

  • Wearable haptics
  • closed-loop bio-feedback
  • sensory substitution
  • stiffness perception
  • vibrotactile frequency modulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Science Applications

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