Focused vibrotactile stimuli from a wearable sparse array of actuators

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Wearable vibrotactile actuators are non-intrusive and inexpensive means to provide haptic feedback directly to the user's skin. Complex spatiotemporal stimuli can be achieved by combining multiple of these actuators, using the funneling illusion. This illusion can funnel the sensation to a particular position between the actuators, thereby creating virtual actuators. However, using the funneling illusion to create virtual actuation points is not robust and leads to sensations that are difficult to locate. We postulate that poor localization can be improved by considering the dispersion and attenuation of the wave propagation on the skin. We used the inverse filter technique to compute the delays and amplification of each frequency to correct the distortion and create sharp sensations that are easier to detect. We developed a wearable device stimulating the volar surface of the forearm composed of four independently controlled actuators. A psychophysical study involving twenty participants showed that the focused sensation improves confidence in the localization by 20% compared to the non-corrected funneling illusion. We anticipate our results to improve the control of wearable vibrotactile devices used for emotional touch or tactile communication.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)511-517
Number of pages7
JournalIEEE Transactions on Haptics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository 'You share, we take care!' - Taverne project
Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


  • Actuators
  • Calibration
  • Haptic interfaces
  • Location awareness
  • Skin
  • Transfer functions
  • Wearable computers


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