Sensory substitution of force and torque using 6-DoF tangential and normal skin deformation feedback Conference Paper uri icon


  • When a person interacts with an environment using a tool, he/she receives tactile information in the form of fingerpad skin deformation. Different interaction forces and torques on the tool cause different skin deformation patterns on the fingerpads. We designed a 6-degree-of-freedom tactile device that creates similar skin deformation patterns on the fingerpads. The device communicates force and torque information by translating and rotating skin deformation tactors relative to the fingerpads. An experiment was conducted to determine participants' ability to use skin deformation tactile cues to perform a peg-in-hole insertion task. Results show that participants can use the tactile cues to reduce interaction force and torque, and they use the tactile force cues to reduce interaction force more than they use the tactile torque cues to reduce interaction torque. Rendering force and torque cues simultaneously causes device saturation and degrades user performance. These results suggest that additional training may help participants use the skin deformation torque cues, and motivate a tactile device design that decouples force and torque skin deformation rendering to minimize device saturation. Fingerpad skin deformation is a promising form of tactile feedback to convey force and torque information in teleoperation systems such as robot-assisted surgery, where force feedback may be undesirable due to stability and safety concerns.

publication date

  • May 1, 2015