Sensory augmentation of stiffness using fingerpad skin stretch Academic Article uri icon


  • When interacting with everyday objects, we experience kinesthetic force feedback as well as various forms of cutaneous tactile feed-back. Skin stretch is part of the cutaneous tactile experience that is caused by friction between the skin and the grasped object. Interacting with stiffer objects causes larger force, and results in a larger amount of skin stretch. Therefore, we hypothesize that adding artificial fingerpad skin stretch to kinesthetic force feedback will increase users' perception of stiffness. A tactile display called the Skin Stretch Stylus was designed to augment kinesthetic force feedback with skin stretch feedback. The change in users' stiffness perception due to the addition of skin stretch feedback is quantified through a two-alternative forced-choice paradigm, method of constant stimuli experiment. In this experiment, subjects compared the stiffness of virtual springs with kinesthetic force feedback augmented with skin stretch feedback versus virtual springs with only kinesthetic force feedback. Results show that the addition of skin stretch causes a significant increase in the perception of stiffness, and this effect increases with higher amount of applied skin stretch. These results indicate that skin stretch feedback could be used to augment perceived stiffness in situations where it is not possible to increase force feedback gains. Such scenarios include teleoperation systems where force feedback gains must remain low to ensure stability, and haptic devices with limited actuator force.

publication date

  • January 1, 2013