Evaluating tactile feedback in addition to kinesthetic feedback for haptic shape rendering: a pilot study

A.L. Ratschat*, B.M. van Rooij, Johannes Luijten, L. Marchal Crespo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Abstract

In current virtual reality settings for motor skill training, only visual information is usually provided regarding the virtual objects the trainee interacts with. However, information gathered through cutaneous (tactile feedback) and muscle mechanoreceptors (kinesthetic feedback) regarding, e.g., object shape, is crucial to successfully interact with those objects. To provide this essential information, previous haptic interfaces have targeted to render either tactile or kinesthetic feedback while the effectiveness of multimodal tactile and kinesthetic feedback on the perception of the characteristics of virtual objects still remains largely unexplored. Here, we present the results from an experiment we conducted with sixteen participants to evaluate the effectiveness of multimodal tactile and kinesthetic feedback on shape perception. Using a within-subject design, participants were asked to reproduce virtual shapes after exploring them without visual feedback and with either congruent tactile and kinesthetic feedback or with only kinesthetic feedback. Tactile feedback was provided with a cable-driven platform mounted on the fingertip, while kinesthetic feedback was provided using a haptic glove. To measure the participants’ ability to perceive and reproduce the rendered shapes, we measured the time participants spent exploring and reproducing the shapes and the error between the rendered and reproduced shapes after exploration. Furthermore, we assessed the participants’ workload and motivation using well-established questionnaires. We found that concurrent tactile and kinesthetic feedback during shape exploration resulted in lower reproduction errors and longer reproduction times. The longer reproduction times for the combined condition may indicate that participants could learn the shapes better and, thus, were more careful when reproducing them. We did not find differences between conditions in the time spent exploring the shapes or the participants’ workload and motivation. The lack of differences in workload between conditions could be attributed to the reported minimal-to-intermediate workload levels, suggesting that there was little room to further reduce the workload. Our work highlights the potential advantages of multimodal congruent tactile and kinesthetic feedback when interacting with tangible virtual objects with applications in virtual simulators for hands-on training applications.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1298537
Number of pages12
JournalFrontiers In Robotics and AI
Volume11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2024

Keywords

  • VR training
  • haptic display
  • haptic rendering
  • kinesthetic devices
  • tactile devices
  • virtual reality

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