Tactile Roughness Perception of Virtual Gratings by Electrovibration

Aykut Isleyen, Yasemin Vardar, Cagatay Basdogan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Realistic display of tactile textures on touch screens is a big step forward for haptic technology to reach a wide range of consumers utilizing electronic devices on a daily basis. Since the texture topography cannot be rendered explicitly by electrovibration on touch screens, it is important to understand how we perceive the virtual textures displayed by friction modulation via electrovibration. We investigated the roughness perception of real gratings made of plexiglass and virtual gratings displayed by electrovibration through a touch screen for comparison. In particular, we conducted two psychophysical experiments with ten participants to investigate the effect of spatial period and the normal force applied by finger on roughness perception of real and virtual gratings in macro size. We also recorded the contact forces acting on the participants' finger during the experiments. The results showed that the roughness perception of real and virtual gratings are different. We argue that this difference can be explained by the amount of fingerpad penetration into the gratings. For real gratings, penetration increased tangential forces acting on the finger, whereas for virtual ones where skin penetration is absent, tangential forces decreased with spatial period. Supporting our claim, we also found that increasing normal force increases the perceived roughness of real gratings while it causes an opposite effect for the virtual gratings. These results are consistent with the tangential force profiles recorded for both real and virtual gratings. In particular, the rate of change in tangential force (DFT/dt) as a function of spatial period and normal force followed trends similar to those obtained for the roughness estimates of real and virtual gratings, suggesting that it is a better indicator of the perceived roughness than the tangential force magnitude.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8933496
Pages (from-to)562-570
Number of pages9
JournalIEEE Transactions on Haptics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • active touch
  • consumer electronics
  • electroadhesion
  • electrovibration
  • friction modulation displays
  • normal force
  • psychophysical experiments
  • Roughness perception
  • skin penetration
  • spatial period
  • touch screen
  • virtual textures


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