Virtual Reality

, Volume 17, Issue 3, pp 205–218 | Cite as

Haptic discrimination of virtual surface slope

Original Article


We report the difference thresholds of the slope of a virtual surface rendered via a force–feedback haptic interface with the body frontal plane as a reference. The factors varied in experiments were the stiffness of a virtual plane, the lateral velocity with which the haptic probe scanned the plane, the length of a scanning interval, the movement direction of the probe to the body frontal plane (toward or away from the body), and lateral scanning direction (left-to-right or right-to-left). Measured slope thresholds ranged from 8.33° to 12.74° and were generally higher than or similar to previously published thresholds for haptic orientation or angle discrimination. The results suggested that haptic slope discriminability was independent of surface stiffness and lateral scanning velocity. Slope discrimination was largely affected by the lateral scan distance, indicating that the terminal difference of probe normal position can be an important sensory cue. In terms of scan direction, inward or rightward scans resulted in better slope discrimination than outward or leftward scans, respectively. These thresholds and findings have implications for haptics applications that involve geometric model modification or simplification of virtual objects while preserving their perceptual properties.


Discrimination Surface slope Haptic rendering Virtual surface Mesh simplification Mesh manipulation 



This work was supported in part by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant (No. 2013R1A2A2A01016907 and No. 2011-0027995) and by the ITRC (Information Technology Research Center) support program (NIPA-2013-H0301-13-3005) supervised by the NIPA (National IT Industry Promotion Agency), all funded by the Korea government (MSIP).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Haptics and Virtual Reality Laboratory, Department of Computer Science and EngineeringPohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH)PohangRepublic of Korea

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