The Visual Computer

, Volume 32, Issue 6–8, pp 921–932 | Cite as

Involving multiple fingers in exploring a haptic surface: an evaluation study

  • Alejandro Catala
  • Miguel Oliver
  • Jose Pascual Molina
  • Pascual GonzalezEmail author
Original Article


In most haptic search tasks, tactile stimuli are usually presented to the fingers to discriminate simulated features and identify patterns. In this paper, we focus on a more complex exploration task in which users have to discriminate different stimuli, move their fingers in a free way to find and locate an object in a wider area of exploration and integrate all the perceived information to determine the position of the object. The study explores how users perform this haptic search task involving one or two fingers on a surface area. In order to carry out this research and overcome limitations of current hardware approaches to multi-point haptic surfaces, we used a setting consisting of a capacitive multi-touch screen and a general-purpose wearable vibrotactile device designed in our laboratory. The results indicate that using one finger in one hand shows to be more effective than using two fingers in either one or two hands in the task under study. Users showed higher confidence, lower exploration times, higher amount of right answers and higher exploration speed. This suggests that great efforts in providing independent multi-point haptic surface hardware could not be a priority for this kind of exploration task.


Human computer interaction Haptic surface Haptics Multi-point feedback Touch Tactile search 



This research has been funded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness and by the FEDER funds of the EU under the project Grants insPIre (TIN2012-34003). Miguel Oliver holds an FPU scholarship (FPU13/03141) from the Spanish Government. We want to thank Dr. Jonatan Martinez for his valuable input and special support in hardware development and provision. Also thanks to Dr. Javier Jaen for his valuable comments during the preparation of this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.LoUISE Research Group, Computing Systems DepartmentUniversity of Castilla-La ManchaAlbaceteSpain

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