Subjective Evaluation of Tactile Fidelity for Single-Finger and Whole-Hand Touch Gestures

  • Fei Tang
  • Ryan P. McMahan
  • Eric D. Ragan
  • Tandra T. Allen
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 10280)


This paper presents a study on the effects of tactile fidelity—the degree of exactness with which real-world tactile stimuli are reproduced—on the perception of single-finger and whole-hand touch gestures. We developed an arm-based tactile display consisting of a four-by-three grid of linear resonant actuator motors to facilitate our investigation. This device supported two extreme levels of tactile fidelity by using an extension of the previously defined Tactile Brush algorithm. At the highest level, all twelve motors could be used to provide an average displayed tactile resolution of one actuation per 12 cm2. At the lowest level, the four corner motors of the grid could be used to provide an average displayed tactile resolution of one actuation per 36 cm2. We conducted a study in which every participant blindly compared these two levels of tactile fidelity for four single-finger touch gestures and six whole-hand touch gestures. Our results indicated that the higher level of tactile fidelity was significantly preferred and accepted for all six whole-hand touch gestures and for two of the four single-finger gestures. We discuss the implications of these results for the development of grid-based tactile displays and provide some virtual reality application areas that could take advantage of using whole-hand touch gestures.


Tactile fidelity Touch gestures Displayed tactile resolution 



The authors wish to thank Carl Lutz for initiating this project and providing feedback during the development process. This work was supported in part by a gift from the T. Boone Pickens Foundation.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fei Tang
    • 1
  • Ryan P. McMahan
    • 1
  • Eric D. Ragan
    • 2
  • Tandra T. Allen
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Texas at DallasRichardsonUSA
  2. 2.Texas A&M UniversityCollege StationUSA

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