Effect of contact location information on haptic shape perception
Haptic technologies enable a user to feel virtual/remote objects through the sense of touch. While force-feedback technology has matured over the last decade, tactile displays providing information at the skin are coming into the limelight due to the significance of tactile information in various manual tasks. This thesis investigates the effect of contact location information rendered with a tactile display on the perception of shape primitives and thus to provide design specifications in developing state-of-the-art tactile displays. A series of experiments were conducted to assess how contact location information affects human perception of virtual shape primitives. The results from the first study on edge sharpness perception indicated that contact location information alone could convey edge sharpness information. However, when it was presented together with force feedback, it was dominated by the force cues. In a second study, the perception of virtual curvature was matched to that of a real one and the relation between virtual and real curvatures was modeled. Finally, the role of contact location information in the perception of surface bumps during contour following was investigated. The results showed that the addition of contact location information to force feedback improved the participants' ability to identify surface features due to the improved identification of small, as opposed to large, surface bumps. No improvement was observed for contour following. Overall, the results of this thesis reveals the extent to which contact location information plays a role in the perception of shape primitives, providing useful references for developing effective tactile displays.
Tan, Purdue University.
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