Authors: Ómar I. Jóhannesson, Rebekka Hoffmann, Vigdís Vala Valgeirsdóttir, Rúnar Unnþórsson, Alin Moldoveanu and Árni Kristjánsson
in: Experimental Brain Research, November 2017
Abstract: While tactile acuity for pressure has been extensively investigated, far less is known about acuity for vibro-tactile stimulation. Vibrotactile acuity is important however, as such stimulation is used in many applications, including sensory substitution devices. We tested discrimination of vibrotactile stimulation from eccentric rotating mass motors with in-plane vibration. In 3 experiments, we tested gradually decreasing center-to-center (c/c) distances from 30 mm (experiment 1) to 13 mm (experiment 3). Observers judged whether a second vibrating stimulator (‘tactor’) was to the left or right or in the same place as a first one that came on 250 ms before the onset of the second (with a 50-ms interstimulus interval). The results show that while accuracy tends to decrease the closer the tactors are, discrimination accuracy is still well above chance for the smallest distance, which places the threshold for vibrotactile stimulation well below 13 mm, which is lower than recent estimates. The results cast new light on vibrotactile sensitivity and can furthermore be of use in the design of devices that convey information through vibrotactile stimulation.
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