Vibrations of a Finger Sliding on Flat and Wavy Surfaces

  • Michaël Wiertlewski
Part of the Springer Series on Touch and Haptic Systems book series (SSTHS)


The fluctuations of the frictional force that arise from the stroke of a finger against flat and sinusoidal surfaces were studied. We used a custom-made, high-resolution friction force sensor able to resolve milli-newton forces, we recorded those fluctuations as well the net, low-frequency components of the interaction force. Measurement showed that the fluctuations of the sliding force were highly unsteady. Despite their randomness, force spectra averages revealed regularities. With a smooth, flat, but not mirror-finish, surface the background noise followed a 1/f trend. Recordings made with pure-tone sinusoidal gratings revealed complexities in the interaction between a finger and a surface. The fundamental frequency was driven by the periodicity of the gratings and harmonics followed a non-integer power-law decay that suggested strong nonlinearities in the fingertip interaction. The results are consistent with the existence of a multiplicity of simultaneous and rapid stick-slip relaxation oscillations. Results have implications for high fidelity haptic rendering and biotribology.


Interaction Force Spatial Spectrum Force Fluctuation Haptic Rendering Sinusoidal Grating 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors are grateful to A.M.L. Kappers for lending us the original gratings and Amir Berrezag for help on the casting procedure. They also would like to thank Yon Visell for his useful comments on the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michaël Wiertlewski
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Mechanical EngineeringNorthwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA

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